Congress approved legislation on Thursday, April 14, to fund the government for the rest of Fiscal Year 2011, which includes a version of an amendment offered by Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., to block funding for approval of new fisheries catch shares programs.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) had proposed to spend $36 million to institute new catch share programs, which opponents say would destroy commercial and fishing jobs and communities across the country.
The Jones amendment to block this funding was originally approved by the House on Feb. 19 with an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 259 to 159.
The language will prohibit the federal government from using any Fiscal Year 2011 funds to approve new catch shares programs for fisheries along the Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico.
The House of Representatives and the Senate passed the bill yesterday, and it is expected to be signed into law by President Barak Obama today.
“This is a shot in the arm for fishermen and a shot across the bow of the National Marine Fisheries Service,” said Jones. “The last thing our government should be doing in these economic times is spending millions of taxpayer dollars to expand programs that will put even more Americans out of work. NMFS would be wise to take heed of the opposition of fishermen, the public and the Congress to their catch shares agenda; we’re not going away.”
The language to defund catch shares is supported by a broad coalition of fishermen, consumer organizations, boat builders and communities from around the country including the Recreational Fishing Alliance, American Sportfishing Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Saving Seafood, Southern Shrimp Alliance, Commercial Fishermen of America, Southeast Fisheries Association, North Carolina Fisheries Association, Garden State Seafood Association, Florida Keys Fishermen’s Association, Long Island (NY) Fishermen’s Association and Food & Water Watch.
Many members of Congress and senators from both parties joined Congressman Jones in advocating for this language, including Reps. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Frank Pallone, D-N.J., as well as Sens. Scott Brown, R-Mass., Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and others.