Posts Tagged John Kerry

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


Mar 13 2012

JOHN KERRY: Righting a wrong for our fisheries

In Massachusetts, commercial fishing supports more than 77,000 jobs. Recreational fishing is also an important part of our maritime economy and our local research institutions are world-renowned. However, today our fishermen continue to face economic peril and they are deeply frustrated by science and research they don’t trust and federal regulators in whom they lost faith when abuses were exposed by an investigation.

We can take an important first step in changing the relationship between our fishermen and federal regulators by passing the Fisheries Investment and Regulatory Relief Act which I am introducing in the Commerce Committee with Senator Snowe, a Republican Senator from Maine and my longtime colleague on the Committee. In the House, Congressmen Barney Frank and Frank Guinta will be introducing similar legislation.

The cornerstone of this bill is returning the use of Saltonstall-Kennedy funds to our fishermen, as was the original intent of its creators.

In 2010, the estimated total duties collected on imports of fishery products were $376.6 million. Thirty percent of that total is approximately $113 million that should be used to improve science and help our fisheries. Unfortunately last year, only $8.4 million of that $113 million was used by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for grants for fisheries research and development projects. The remaining funds were used by NOAA for their operations.

This simply can’t continue, especially given the current situation facing our fisheries. Our bill will restore the investment to help the fishermen and communities for whom Sens. Saltonstall and Kennedy originally intended it to protect.

Read the full opinion piece from The Gloucester Times.

Mar 10 2012

Senate bill seeks millions to improve fishery science and stock assessments

Written by By Don Cuddy 

Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, will introduce a bill today designed to provide millions of dollars in federal funds to help the commercial fishing industry.

The Fisheries Investment and Regulatory Relief Act could funnel more than $100 million annually into improving scientific research and fish stock assessments nationwide.

The money would come from an existing source: the customs duties raised from fish products imported to the U.S. Legislation passed in 1954, known as the Kennedy-Saltonstall Act, directs that 30 percent of all duty paid on fish imports be transferred to the Secretary of Commerce and set aside for fisheries research and other projects.

In practice, that has not been happening, according to Kerry’s office, which said that duties collected on imported fish products in 2010 totaled $376.6 million. Of that amount, $113 million went to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But only $8.4 million was used for fisheries research and development. The remaining $104.6 million was swallowed by NOAA’s operational budget.

The New England fishing industry has repeatedly criticized NOAA and the National Marine Fisheries Service for basing management decisions on incomplete or outdated data, with the recent dire assessment of cod stocks in the Gulf of Maine provoking the latest controversy.

A rosy stock assessment in 2008 was followed this year by a declaration that the stock has collapsed, threatening many fishermen’s survival.

“We can’t fix our fishing problems if we don’t restore trust and you start rebuilding trust by investing in fishing science that’s credible and comprehensive and comes from the fishing community itself,” Kerry said in an email to The Standard-Times.

The bill proposes to restore the original intent of Saltonstall-Kennedy; using the money in coordination with regional fishery management councils to allow local stakeholders a voice in how funds are directed.

Read the rest on South Coast Today.
Feb 25 2011

Kerry steps up push vs. NOAA

By Richard Gaines Staff Writer

U.S. Sen. John Kerry has put his political weight behind the struggles of the fishing industry in its growing fight for relief from the regulatory, economic and law enforcement policies created and being carried out by the Obama administration.

John Kerryphoto © 2009 Center for American Progress Action Fund | more info (via: Wylio)

Expressing disappointment and frustration at the lack of progress in a year’s struggle dating to the Feb. 24, 2010, national fishermen’s rally in Washington, D.C., Kerry announced plans organize a field hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee — somewhere in Massachusetts, and no later than April.

The hearing would gather testimony for comprehensive legislation aimed at modifying the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the landmark 1976 law that governs America’s fisheries and is credited with achieving sustainable stocks and ending overfishing.

Read the rest of the story here.