December 19, 2011

Jones requests action on fisheries reform bills

In two separate letters sent last week, Congressman Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., urged the House Natural Resources Committee to quickly move several fisheries reform bills through the committee and on to the House floor. 

These bills include Congressman Jones’ H.R. 2753 – the Fishery Management Transparency and Accountability Act, in addition to other bills that Congressman Jones is a lead co-sponsor of, such as H.R. 2772 – the Saving Fisheries Jobs Act; H.R. 3061 – the Flexibility and Access in Rebuilding American Fisheries Act; and H.R. 2610 – the Asset Forfeiture Fund Reform Act.  These bills were the subject of a committee hearing on Dec. 1, at which Jones testified. 

“Every fisherman I talk to believes there are major problems with the way our fisheries are managed,” said Jones.  “Many of the bills examined at the Dec. 1 hearing would – if passed – go a long way toward fixing those problems. Everyone acknowledges that this country needs jobs, and that’s exactly what these bills are about. Fishermen in this country are hurting badly.  They can’t afford to wait years for relief; they need it now.”

The bills are:

  • H.R. 2753 – The Fishery Management Transparency and Accountability Act – would require the federal Regional Fishery Management Councils to broadcast their meetings live over the Internet and to make recordings of their proceedings available to the public for three years.
  • H.R. 2772 – The Saving Fisheries Jobs Act – would mandate that no new catch share program could be imposed on any fishery on the Atlantic Coast and Gulf of Mexico unless a two-thirds majority of fishermen in that fishery approve the program, and would close any newly established catch share program if it puts 15 percent or more of fishermen out of business.
  • H.R. 3061 – The Flexibility and Access in Rebuilding American Fisheries Act – would amend the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Management Act to allow the 10-year time period for rebuilding fisheries to be extended under certain common-sense circumstances. In allowing such flexibility, the bill would provide for timely restoration of healthy fisheries while also preventing fishermen from being put out of business because of the rigid, arbitrary timelines contained in the Magnuson Act.
  • H.R. 2610 – The Asset Forfeiture Fund Reform Act – would compensate and protect the fishing industry from excessive fines, reform the Asset Forfeiture Fund, and increase the role of the states in providing scientific research. 

A copy of the letter that, Congressman Jon Runyan, R-N.J., and several others sent to Chairman Hastings on H.R. 2772 can be viewed here.

A copy of the letter that Congressman Jones sent to Chairman Hastings on H.R. 2753 and the other bills can be viewed here.

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