This month, Congress announced it would work to reduce the financial strain on commercial fishermen who participated in a federal buyback of permits and fishing boats, mostly draggers, in California back in 2003.

 

There's a bill in the House to refinance a buyback loan at a lower rate than the 5 percent set by the feds when the buyback was enacted.

 

It's welcome news for commercial fishermen—but what good did the original buyback do, if any?

 

Liz Ryan, a fisheries expert with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), says that the buyback program, aimed at reducing fishing pressure, worked under the principle of the reverse auction.

 

Fishermen who offered the lowest for-sale price to the government were the first to have their boats and permits bought out.

 

Those fishermen got cash in exchange for giving up their boats and permits. The boats were permanently retired from fishing, the permits torn up. The remaining California groundfish fleet was then on hook for a combination loan-grant program that sent $37.5 million via the government loan, and another $10 million in grant money, to fishermen willing to hang up their skins.

 

Read the full story at the Bohemian>>

 

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