Written by Leslie Taylor
A year ago, the bill to provide $150 million in direct federal disaster assistance to fishermen rolled through the Senate, only to die a lingering death in the House — a casualty of the internecine and partisan bickering over the debt ceiling.
Yesterday, that failure by Congress to lift a deliberative finger to help fishermen was reduced to a political footnote when the Senate passed an appropriation to send $75 million to help fishermen, and fishing communities begin to right their ship after the economic peril visited upon them by the industry’s collapse.
The vote by the Senate, which followed Wednesday’s overwhelming victory in the House, means the federal government now will provide its first meaningful financial assistance to fishermen since the Department of Commerce declared an economic disaster in the Northeast groundfish fishery and elsewhere in 2012.
”This aid to our fishermen is long overdue,” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said yesterday, immediately after casting her vote on the Senate floor. “I couldn’t be more pleased.”
Warren stressed that the appropriation is just the first step in helping rebuild the industry that has been ravaged by depleted fish stocks, shrinking fleets, climatic changes and NOAA’s crisis management strategy of closing traditional fishing grounds and slashing catch quotas.
Read the full story at the Gloucester Daily Times>>
NMFS has awarded 16 grants totaling more than $2.5 million as part of its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.
The program supports the development of technological solutions and changes in fishing practices designed to minimize bycatch and aims to to find creative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, seabird interactions, and post-release mortality in federally managed fisheries.Read more...
Abe Williams, who was elected to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board last spring, has been selected as the new president as of September.
Williams fishes the F/V Crimson Fury, and is president of Nuna Resources, a nonprofit that supports sustainable resource development in rural Alaska, including fighting for an international solution to issues raised by the proposed Pebble Mine project.Read more...