Mar 10 2012

Senators Kerry and Snowe will introduce bill to restore intent of Saltonstall-Kennedy Act

On Thursday, Senators John Kerry and Olympia Snowe will introduce legislation to restore the funding of the Saltonstall-Kennedy Act, which supported fishery research projects, to “help the fishermen and communities for whom it was originally intended.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 9, 2012  – The Saltonstall-Kennedy (S-K) Act was authored by Senators Leverett Saltonstall (R-Mass.) and John F. Kennedy (D-Mass.) in 1954 to promote and market domestic seafood.

According to a report by the Congressional Research Service, the Saltonstall-Kennedy Fund has, among other things, supported fishery research and development projects in the 58 years since its passage.  However, beginning “in FY1979, increasing amounts of S-K dollars have been transferred to the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Operations, Research, and Facilities (ORF) account, reducing the funds and percentage of funds available for fishing industry projects and the national program. Since FY1982, the S-K program has never allocated the minimum amount (50% after FY1980 and 60% after FY1983) specified by law for industry projects.”

On Thursday, Senators John Kerry (D-Mass) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) will introduce legislation to restore this funding to “help the fishermen and communities for whom it was originally intended.”

A companion bill, authored by Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Frank Guinta (R-New Hampshire) is expected to be introduced in the House of Representatives.

The following was released by Senator Kerry’s office: 

Background on the Kerry-Snowe Fisheries Investment and Regulatory Relief Act

The Saltonstall-Kennedy (S-K) Act directs 30% of the duties on imported fish products to a grant program for research and development projects to benefit the U.S. fishing industry. It is estimated that for 2010, the total duties collected on the imports of fishery products was $376.6 million. The S-K Act directs 30% of that total to be transferred to the Secretary of Commerce. In 2010, that equaled $113 million. Of that $113 million, $104.6 million went to NOAA’s operations budget, and only $8.4 million was used by NOAA for grants for fisheries research and development projects. We believe that we should follow the original intent of Senators Leverett Saltonstall and John F. Kennedy and restore this funding to help the fishermen and communities for whom it was originally intended.

Today, our regional fisheries are facing difficult issues such as the recent Gulf of Maine cod crisis in New England and pirate fishing on the West Coast. With federal funds scarce, each region is in need of a reliable source of federal funding to assist them in responding to the many challenges of managing a fishery. The Fisheries Investment Act ensures that the Saltonstall-Kennedy money is spent in coordination with the Regional Fishery Management Councils (RFMC) and focused on key priorities identified by both fishermen and NOAA, restoring the original intent of the S-K Act by involving local stakeholders in determining how funds are used.

 

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