Apr 21 2011

Budget measure blocks new catch share programs

United States Capitolphoto © 2006 Jeff Kubina | more info (via: Wylio)

By Steve Urbon
surbon@s-t.com
April 20, 2011 12:00 AM

NEW BEDFORD — As a budget amendment blocking catch share management from spreading in America’s fisheries makes its way to President Barack Obama’s desk, new concerns have cropped up about the arrival of private brokers of fishing allocations.

The measure in the budget prohibits the Commerce Department from funding the implementation of fisheries catch share programs such as the one imposed in the Northeast one year ago. It was introduced by U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., and backed by U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., among others.

The language in the amendment was softened somewhat in the budget deliberations. Originally, it stopped funding for even the study of new catch share systems. Now it simply prohibits their approval.

“This is a shot in the arm for fishermen and a shot across the bow of the National Marine Fisheries Service,” said Jones in a prepared statement. “The last thing our government should be doing in these economic times is spending millions of taxpayer dollars to expand programs that will put even more Americans out of work. NMFS would be wise to take heed of the opposition of fishermen, the public and the Congress to their catch shares agenda; we’re not going away.”

Catch shares and sector management are being blamed (or credited) with sharply reducing the size of the groundfish fleet in the Northeast and the rapid consolidation of catch into the top 10 percent of the boats. The measures are being challenged in federal court in a lawsuit filed by New Bedford, Gloucester and other fishing interests.

Read the rest on SouthCoastToday.com.

 

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