Federal fishing regulators and environmentalists seem to think the best approach to conservation is simply to nickel-and-dime the local fishing fleet out of existence. It’s a contemptible way to handle an industry that helped build the economy in this nation’s coastal states.
Federal law now requires commercial fishing vessels that work beyond 3 nautical miles offshore to undergo updated safety and survival training (previously the requirement was only for vessels beyond 13 miles offshore). And of course safety’s a good thing; fishermen risk their lives with every trip.
But Congress hasn’t funded the grant programs that were created to help the overburdened industry meet those new requirements. So Gov. Charlie Baker and the state’s congressional delegation last week sent a letter to President Obama, asking for funding for federal fishing safety training grants to be included in the president’s 2017 budget.
“While Congress stipulated new safety training, it failed to fund the programs that were specifically created to provide assistance to the fishing community,” Baker and the all-Democratic delegation wrote.
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