Lawmakers write letter opposing catch-share program
BY CATHERINE KOZAK
U.S. Senator Kay R. Hagan (D-N.C.) today led a bipartisan, bicameral
group of lawmakers in urging the Department of Commerce to consider
alternatives to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s
(NOAA) National Catch Share Program.
In a letter to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, the members of Congress
said that the policy endangers the fishing industry and asked him to
consider alternative fishery management techniques.
Hagan sent the letter along with Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.),
Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.),
Brown (R-Mass.), and Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Peter DeFazio
(D-Ore.), Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), and Mike
The full letter can be read here.
“The fishing industry is a crucial part of our nation’s economy, but in
these tough economic times, too many fishermen are struggling to
provide for themselves, their families, and their communities,” the
lawmakers wrote. “We write to express our concern that the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) catch shares policy
will further endanger the economic vitality of the already-struggling
fishing industry and will not end overfishing, and to urge NOAA to
consider other well-established fishery management
NOAA has requested $54 million to encourage the adoption of catch-share
programs but has not committed the necessary funds to assessing fishery
stocks, as it is required to do under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The
members said in their letter that NOAA must do this assessment before
even considering a new fishery management tool that does not have
broad-based support from the fishing industry.
“Honest fishermen work very hard to make a living in our states every
day,” the members of Congress wrote. “For them and for our economy, we
must institute fishery management tools that enhance the industry’s
vitality, not diminish it.”