Mid-Atlantic fishermen and their advocates told four members of Congress on Monday that inaccurate stock assessments needlessly limit their catch and endanger their livelihood as the House of Representatives’ Committee on Natural Resources held an oversight hearing in Riverhead.
Bonnie Brady of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association and Captain Joe McBride of the Montauk Boatmen and Captains Association were among those providing testimony to Representative Lee Zeldin of New York’s First Congressional District and three members of the natural resources committee. Witnesses also included representatives of fishing and seafood trade associations and a scientist from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which manages fish species in federal waters.
At issue in the field hearing, called Restoring Atlantic Fisheries and Protecting the Regional Seafood Economy, were the science and data collection used in management of fish stocks.
Along party lines, the committee members either defended or disparaged NOAA and the National Marine Fisheries Services’ stewardship and stock assessments, from which quotas are determined. They disagreed on assessments of striped bass and fluke, for which the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council have recommended 2016 harvest reductions of 25 and 29 percent respectively.
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