Congressman Jones slams NOAA’s catch share policy
U.S. Congressman Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., yesterday sent a letter to
Dr. Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), opposing the agency’s recently
announced National Catch Share Policy and demanding answers regarding
Jones called the policy “totally unnecessary for species
protection.” He expressed outrage over NOAA’s announcement of
$2.2 million grant program to advance its catch shares agenda, which
will put Americans out of work and is opposed by the vast majority of
Jones believes that “to the extent that solid science demonstrates that
reductions in catch in any given fishery are necessary, there are far
better options than catch shares for achieving those reductions.”
Jones has long opposed catch shares and is working in Congress to block
funding for implementation of new catch share programs.
The text of Jones’ letter:
On behalf of
Carolina fishing communities I am privileged to represent, I would like
to express my strong opposition to the National Catch Share Policy and
the $2.2 million catch share grant program which the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced last week. It
astonishing that at a time of near record unemployment and exploding
federal deficits, NOAA stubbornly continues its agenda to spend
millions of taxpayer dollars to advance a catch share policy that is
totally unnecessary for species protection and that all acknowledge
will put more Americans out of work.
As you know,
Magnuson-Stevens Act sets the framework for fisheries management in
this country. Under the act, fisheries management councils
given the option to use a variety of measures to manage fish stocks,
only one of which is catch shares. The act does not establish
preference for catch shares. The act does not authorize the
agency to promulgate a policy to encourage fishermen and councils to
select catch shares over other management options. The act
not authorize the agency to spend taxpayer money to support the efforts
of special interest groups seeking to petition the councils and the
agency to establish more catch share programs. But yet with last week’s
announcement, this is exactly what NOAA is doing.
that NOAA – through the Secretary of Commerce – is selecting fishery
management council members based on their allegiance to catch
shares. Collectively, these actions leave the impression that
NOAA is attempting to hijack the council process in order to impose its
catch shares agenda.
appreciate answers to the following questions:
specific law does
NOAA believe gives it the statutory authority to promulgate its
National Catch Share Policy?
me that $1 million of the $2.2 million catch share grant program is
being provided by NOAA. Exactly which account is that money
coming from? The Asset Forfeiture Fund? Which specific law
NOAA believe gives it the statutory authority to spend money for this
purpose? Is it the official policy of the agency to spend
millions to put people out of work?
NOAA’s policy to
ignore the will of fishing communities – the vast majority of whom
oppose catch shares – and to rig the council process to favor
implementation of new catch shares programs?
to the extent
that solid science demonstrates that reductions in catch in any given
fishery are necessary, there are far better options than catch shares
for achieving those reductions. The last thing the federal
government should be doing in these economic times is spending millions
of taxpayer dollars to expand a policy that will put even more
Americans out of work.
I hope you
these words to heart, and I look forward to your response.