Mar 14 2012

Senators Scott Brown and John Kerry lead bipartisan effort to boost domestic fishing industry

Protesters gather at the United We Fish rally on Feb. 24, 2010 in Washington (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

 By Robert Rizzuto, The Republican

In what is being hailed as a bipartisan effort to right a decades-old wrong, U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., have joined with colleagues to push a bill that is expected to give the fishing industry in the U.S. a solid push into the future.

The Fisheries Investment and Regulatory Relief Act, or FIRRA as it’s known, would ensure that a significant portion of the money collected from tariffs on imported fish or fish products is cycled back into the American fishing industry, in accordance with the 1954 Saltonstall-Kennedy Act.

The 1954 legislation, sponsored by Democratic Sen. John F. Kennedy and Republican Sen. Leverett Saltonstall, both of Massachusetts, called for 30 percent of tariffs on imported fish to be used for research and development of the domestic fishing industry. But as imports have climbed along with revenue, Congress has typically allocated a majority of the money to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has came under fire for questionable spending in the past.

In February, Brown blasted NOAA after an Inspector General report revealed that the agency had spent more than $300,000 in fines collected from U.S. fisherman to purchase a luxury boat which was used by agency members for recreation on the ocean with family, friends and alcohol.

A summary of the new legislation provided by Kerry’s office stated that in 2010, the government collected $376.6 million in tariffs on imported fish and fish products, which should have set aside $113 million for fishery research and development. In the end, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration received $104.6 million, with just $8.4 million going to fishery development.

Read the full article on MassLive.com

 

 

Leave a Reply