Senator Markey seems to have a hold on American Fisheries Advisory Committee Act – S1322

Good Morning, Sam Parisi asked that I send this Bill and some backup information to you as we seek passage of this Bill out of the Senate where Senator Markey seems to have a hold on it thus lengthening and complicating the passage of the Bill. Please see the attached Bill S1322…the American Fisheries Advisory Committee Act. (AFAC) and below please find some background information. If you can support this bill, we would all appreciate a strong letter of support to Senator Markey ASAP. It would be quite helpful if you would please send us a copy of your letter for our communications with the Senator’s office.

The written purpose of the Saltonstall Kennedy Act of 1954, (SK Act) was “…to aid the American commercial fishing industry by promoting the free flow of domestically produced products in commerce and developing and increasing markets for those products.” Further, “The Act authorizes the use of the SK funds to provide an educational service and market development program and to conduct research in the fields of technology, biology and related activities”

The America Fisheries Advisory Committee (AFAC) was created to advise the Secretary of Interior about problems in the commercial fishing industry that should be addressed by the SK grant program. This committee of “19 industry experts from all segments of the industry across the country” was dissolved with other such committees in 1972. NOAA / NMFS took control of the program in the mid 70’s and until fairly recently, most of these ever increasing SK funds have been used for their budget and not for the originally intended purposes of the Act referenced above.

The US fisheries are not in great shape and are in need of new development, more competitive products, new fisheries (species), and expanded markets. With 90+% imports dominating the market, our “domestically produced products” are being reduced to the value of the lowest commodity.

Increasing our markets, values and overall fisheries with new development, will bring back our working waterfronts, increase jobs across the entire industry and get more people eating more of our seafood, more often and at a higher price.

Passing S1322 will re-create the American Fisheries Advisory Committee and that Committee will redesign and reinvigorate the SK Competitive Grant program to once again take on and help solve the economic development problems of the US seafood industry. This will be done because the Industry rather than the government agencies, will identify and prioritize the needs and problems of the industry that will and must be dealt with in real time by the this SK grant program.

This bill does not effect the NOAA or NMFS budget nor does it take any funds from their budget account. The only effect on the many past recipients of these grants, such as our universities and research institutes, will be a larger variety of grant proposal subjects. This is simply because the US Seafood Industry as a whole, through the AFAC will decide the direction of the research from nationwide input considering everything from biological research to market education and will work on these needs in real time as the industry dictates to the committee what is really needed to “move the needle”. This will positively effect seafood producers and users from across the wide spectrum of the industry from the “boat to the throat.”

Please feel free to share these notes with others for their support to Senator Markey with letters and calls.


Bruce Schactler
National Seafood Marketing Coalition

Sam Parisi Writes.

Senator Markey,

Last year I sent a letter to you regarding SKG money and that our fishermen have been left out of the process, and that NOAA decides who will receive these funds.

I know of fisherman who have submitted and have not received any consideration. I wrote how hard it was for the average fishermen to fill out all the paper work and you had to be a genius to do it!

Well that got the attention of GARFO Administrator John Bullard who responded, and said his staff would help with the paper work.

Two years ago I was selected by NOAA to severe on a panel with ten others from the industry to go to Saint Petersburg, to review those who applied.

Before I left town, a Mrs. Olsen gave me sixty applications to review and that I had to present five in Saint Pete. I looked them over and found there was no one from here that applied, even though I knew the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wife’s Association and two others, one a seafood company and one from a fisherman I know, had applied.

Any way, off I went to Saint Pete, and I sat on both panels for two days .

The panel selection was good and there were fisherman like me.

After each application we had to grade them, and when we were done, we were not told who was selected.

After about two months at home, it was announced in our local paper that a Gloucester Seafood company was awarded by NOAA $350,000 to process red fish, and get this! They got this money two years in a row . Then, it dawned on me. Mr. Bullard at a city meeting was promoting red fish as the future.

I called a Mr Newmyer the head man in Saint Pete and asked how this could happen when it was not presented in front of the panel.

He said it was presented on a different day, which is untrue. I was there both days it never was presented.

I firmly believe the deck is stacked by NOAA, and its time to end the dirty dealing.

This has to stop and why we need senator Sullivan Bill s132 to pass ,it is the only way our fisherman will see these funds

The bill calls for an Fisheries Advisory Panel made up of those from the industry, please call your local senators in your area .

Here some who are in favor Gloucester Fisheries Commission ,Fishermen’s Wife’s Northeast Seafood Coalison and others.

Thank You Sam Parisi