Written by Jen Finn
The news that Congressman John Tierney, six other members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, and five federal lawmakers from Maine and New Hampshire are pressing the acting Commerce secretary to at least continue fully subsidizing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's at-sea fishing monitoring costs is good news.
Indeed, NOAA's insistence — and the declaration by NOAA's Gloucester's based Northeast regional administrator John Bullard, who, as former mayor of New Bedord should know better — that a Commerce budgeting shortfall somehow means fishermen must pick up the tab for this sad-sack monitoring project shows just how clueless and truly anti-fishing this rogue agency has become.
As lawmakers step up the pressure to secure NOAA funding for the failing monitors' program, it's also important that they not lose sight of a far bigger picture as the new Congress takes its early steps forward regarding ocean policy.
The fact is, the level of competency shown to date by the hired monitors — who, among other incidents, have clumsily disabled or broken captains' on-board communication equipment and spent entire trips seasick — all suggest this program should be scrapped. And while lawmakers are pushing for action on the boat monitoring program, let's not for a second forget that:
NOAA and Commerce have not extended a single dime to the fishing industry to address the growing "economic disaster" that Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank declared for the Gloucester, New England and the entire Northeast groundfishery last September.
Read the full story at the Gloucester Daily Times>>
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...