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>>
NOAA recently published a proposed rule that would implement a traceability plan to help combat IUU fishing. The program would seek to trace the origins of imported seafood by setting up reporting and filing procedures for products entering the U.S.
The traceability program would collect data on harvest, landing, and chain of custody of fish and fish products that have been identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and fraud.Read more...
The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:
The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.Read more...