Written by Jen Finn
Republicans in the Senate moved Wednesday to strip funding for New England's struggling groundfishing industry from a Hurricane Sandy disaster relief package that they claim was loaded with money unrelated to the October superstorm.
Democrats had proposed a $60.4 billion package to provide emergency funds for mid-Atlantic communities hit hard by Sandy as well as for other disaster-related projects. But Senate Republicans countered Wednesday with a $24 billion package that they claim provides immediate disaster relief to storm-affected areas while giving Congress extra time to vet the other projects.
Two proposals to remove $150 million in funding for fisheries declared as federal disasters – including Maine's dwindling groundfishery – angered lawmakers from states fighting for the money.
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., pointed out that five states in the middle of the U.S. received nearly $40 billion in funding for 68 federally designated disasters between 2004 and 2011.
"We have more than five states asking for $150 million," Kerry said in response to an earlier attempt to separate out the fisheries money. "I will just say point blank: This legislation is not going to pass without the inclusion of fisheries money."
Read the full story at the Portland Press Herald>>
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...