Written by Jen Finn
The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee began the lengthy process of hearings Wednesday, leading to an intended update of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the nation's primary law for managing the nation's fisheries, with widespread consensus among witnesses on the need for better and more timely scientific stock assessments.
But among three Massachusetts congressmen — including the ranking Democrat on the committee, Rep. Ed Markey — there was no consensus on the need for a rewrite of the law to give the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration more flexibility in writing rebuilding plans for overfished species.
In written statements to the committee, Congressmen John Tierney, whose district includes Cape Ann, and William Keating, who represents Cape Cod and the ports along Massachusetts Bay, both underscored the need for greater flexibility. These views were in line with those of retired Congressman Barney Frank, who represented New Bedford before deciding against running again last November in a reconfigured district that did not include that port city.
Markey — who avoided the issue of flexibility in prepared opening comments, and instead hammered the Republicans for blocking fisheries disaster funding for the Northeast groundfishery at the end of the last session — made clear in a statement to the Times last week that he believed Magnuson was sufficiently flexible.
"It is flexible enough that when Massachusetts fishermen and elected officials including myself asked for carryover of unused quota from this year to next, the answer was yes," he said in an email last week. Markey, of Malden, is dean of the Massachusetts congressional delegation and his district includes the coastal communities of Revere and Winthrop.
Read the full story at the Gloucester Daily Times>>
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...
Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.
Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.Read more...