Tag Archives: Congress

Forcing fishermen to pay for the privilege of being monitored

Imagine you live somewhere in small-town America where residents routinely exceed the posted speed limits. To address this problem, the town council votes to require a police officer to ride along with each member of the community every time they venture out in an automobile. You might think something like that could never happen. Yet that is precisely the position into which the Department of Commerce has placed the nation’s deep-sea fishermen. For more than 30 years, the Magnuson-Stevens Act has authorized the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to require commercial fishing boats to carry observers with them to monitor their adherence to federal fishing regulations. When NOAA ran out of the money it needed to keep this program going to the extent it deemed necessary in the U.S. Atlantic Coast herring fisheries, the agency decided without congressional authorization to shift the responsibility of paying for these third-party observers to the fishermen themselves. >click to read< 14:54

Sustaining America’s Fisheries for the Future Act – Partisan Politics Threaten to Sink Reform of Federal Fisheries Law

A divided Congress and the unexpected death of an Alaska congressman appear to have derailed federal legislation meant to improve oversight and management of U.S. fisheries, especially in the face of climate change. The House Natural Resources Committee passed a Democratic-sponsored bill last week to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act for the first time since 2006. While it’s possible the bill will receive a vote on the House floor before the end of the year, its chances of being taken up in the Senate, much less receiving the 60 votes necessary to break a filibuster, is unlikely — at least in this Congress. >click to read< 11:42

DOJ Digs Into “Competition Concerns” in New England Fishing Industry

The U.S. Department of Justice has begun looking at possible antitrust issues in the New England fishing industry, amid growing concern about consolidation and market dominance by private equity investors. One such firm is Blue Harvest Fisheries, which operates out of New Bedford, Massachusetts, and is the largest holder of permits to catch groundfish such as pollock, haddock and ocean perch. The investigation traced the company’s ownership to a billionaire Dutch family via a private equity firm. Over the past seven years, records show, the company has purchased the rights to catch 12% of groundfish in the region, approaching the antitrust cap of 15.5%. It further boosts its market share by leasing fishing rights from other permit owners. >click to read< 07:50

“Trust the science,” say the media – Scientific ‘integrity’

Polls show that fewer Americans do. There’s good reason for that. Environmental activists want to limit commercial fishing. They want Congress to pass what they call the “Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act.” It claims climate change is the “greatest threat to America’s national security” and offers a dubious solution: close more of the ocean to commercial fishing. The administration’s deputy director of Climate, Jane Lubchenco, told Congress that a scientific paper concludes that closing more of the ocean can actually increase catches of fish. Really? That doesn’t seem logical. It isn’t. The paper was retracted. One scientist called its logic “biologically impossible.” Also, Lubchenco’s didn’t tell Congress that the paper was written by her brother-in-law! And edited by her! >click to read< 09:00

Maine lobster industry may receive nearly $14 million in federal aid

U.S. Reps. Jared Golden and Chellie Pingree, both Democrats from Maine, helped secure the funding and pledged to keep advocating for the fishery. In a statement, Golden called the regulations misguided, indefensible and economically damaging. “NOAA has been unable to prove that these regulations will work, but lobstermen are still being forced to pick up the tab,” he said. “It’s just wrong.” Virginia Olsen, director of the Maine Lobstering Union, said the money will help keep fishermen in business as they “work to right the wrongs” of the new regulations. Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, agreed. >click to read< 19:58

$4.2 million federal grant seeks to help Louisiana seafood processors recoup COVID losses

Louisiana will receive a $4.2 million federal grant to help seafood processors recover losses sustained during the ongoing COVID pandemic. It’s part of a $50 million allocation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to about two dozen coastal states announced Monday. The aid comes from a $2.3 trillion bipartisan bill approved by Congress and then President Donald Trump in December 2020. It combined $900 million in COVID stimulus money with $1.4 trillion to fund various federal agencies. The USDA has not detailed specifics about how the latest aid will be distributed to seafood processors. >click to read< 08:32

Fishery Disaster Assistance: Aid can take years to come through

The designation is supposed to unlock funds to help the communities impacted by those fisheries failures, including communities around Cook Inlet. But it can take years for the money to reach fishermen’s pockets. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said the timing is one of the problems with the process. “If you’ve had a disaster that happened in 2018, we’re sitting here in 2022 and you’re saying, ‘Really? You think that that’s going to help me?’ In the meantime. I’ve got a boat mortgage that I’ve got to be paying. I’ve got a crew that I’ve got to be paying. This doesn’t help me at all,” she said. >click to read< 16:49

Biden’s Offshore Wind Farm Target Will Increase Costs, Reduce Reliability

Congress passed the first temporary production tax credit for wind in 1992 and extended it 13 times since then. The Democrat’s reconciliation package contains about $235 billion in incentives for wind and solar,,, The reconciliation package Build Back Better would make the PTC and investment tax credit direct payments, instead of a tax credit against any taxes owed. That is, renewable energy developers would receive a check from the government for the subsidy. Further, solar, which has long qualified for an investment tax credit but not the production tax credit available to wind, would now qualify for both. The legislation would also restore the PTC and ITC to their original values as follows: >click to read< 14:41

Watching Wind And Solar Fail To Power The World Economy

You don’t have to be any kind of a genius to figure out that wind and solar generation are never going to supplant fossil fuels in powering the world economy. Thankfully the U.S., home of fracking, has mostly been spared the huge natural gas price spikes that have befallen Europe and Asia. If the dopes occupying the White House and leading the Congress had their way, we would be suffering the fate of those places and worse. And oil? It’s suddenly trading at $80 and more per barrel, the highest price since 2014. >click to read< 11:28  U.K. Turns to Coal as Low Wind Output Increases Power Prices – U.K. power prices rose after a coal power plant switched on Monday to make up for a shortfall in wind generation and limited flows on two power cables to Ireland. >click to read< 14:32

Here is another nail in our Commercial Fishing coffin. Offshore wind farms.

Our fisherman are having enough problems as it is, starting with NOAA, Monument area’s, Monitoring, SK Grant money not going to our fishermen, closed fishing grounds to save the whales, and politicians that are ignoring the issues of the fishermen, all of the fishermen, including the boots on deck fisherman that earns only a share for his skills, loyalty, and labor. The proposed Vineyard Wind 1 area off of Cape Cod is about 18,000 acres of rich fishing grounds. Fishermen from Maine to Rhode Island fish on those grounds. The President and Governor Baker are for it, but it still needs to go to Congress. Together we could stop this. >click to read< Thank you, Sam Parisi, Gloucester, Mass. 18:33

Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser – $2 billion river diversion is opposed by many. I am opposed.

Turning the tide on land loss in coastal Louisiana is a matter of self-preservation.  However, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority’s (CPRA) plan to address coastal land loss is a staggering $2 billion river diversion,,, I oppose this large-scale river diversion, and I’m not alone.  The parish councils of Plaquemines, St. Bernard and St. Tammany have joined in because those communities will lose already limited flood protections while the negative impact to their fisheries environment upends the livelihood of fishermen who rely on fresh water, salt water and land. >click to read< 12:28

Hawaii Longline Association Takes Action To Fight Poor Conditions And Human Trafficking

Eric Kingma, HLA executive director, says the local longline fleet has already taken several steps to ensure Hawaii’s fishermen are treated humanely.  While he took issue with some of the findings of the AP articles, he acknowledged it sparked a needed conversation about how foreign fishermen are treated. “That report did damage to the reputation of our fishery,,, “Certainly, we took the issue very seriously and responded with our own review of crew, captains and vessel owners.” He said HLA’s internal review did not find any evidence of human trafficking or forced labor in the longline fleet, which is made up of about 140 vessels and nearly 700 foreign fishermen. >click to read< 08:29

The President vetoed a bill that would have decimated family fisheries and the ocean

Thanks to a last-minute veto by President Donald Trump on January 1, dozens of American family fishing businesses will be saved from going out of business, and the ocean ecosystem will be better protected—both of which were being threatened by a bill that was more rhetoric than science. In mid-December, Congress passed S. 906, the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act. The legislation would have phased out the use of drift gillnets, the only proven commercially viable way to catch swordfish, and would have effectively closed the West Coast swordfish fishery. This comes amidst particular uncertainty for fishermen in the region, who were already facing daunting challenges. >click to read< 09:15

A Final 2020 DMR Update from Commissioner Pat Keliher

As 2020 slowly draws to a close, I’d like to share with you one last monthly update on the work of Maine DMR before we close the books on a year of challenges. Pat. New England Fishery Management Council actions,,, DMR has been auditing the data collected through the CARES Act application process,, Additional coronavirus relief has been approved by Congress however it is much too early,,, much more, >click to read< 12:20

Remembering Pearl Harbor – December 7, 1941, ‘a day that will live in infamy’

Seventy-nine years ago this Dec. 7, the Empire of Japan carried out a sneak attack on American military forces at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. More than 2,400 people — including 68 civilians — died and almost 1,200 more were injured. The next day President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress for a declaration of war. The speech has become one of the most famous in American history, and reminds us of the service and sacrifices made by our countrymen during World War II. Here is Roosevelt’s address: Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives: Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 >click to read< 06:50:

New York’s restaurants and seafood need help from Congress

Each summer in the Bronx, the New Fulton Fish Market teems with fresh seafood harvested by U.S. fishermen in the waters off New England and the Mid-Atlantic. Fishermen land New York’s famous oysters, lobster, Montauk Sea Bream, and countless other offerings that quickly make their way to restaurants like Grand Banks. In New York and New Jersey alone, the commercial fishing industry is valued at $11 billion. When you consider the additional $17 billion market size for the restaurant industry, the value of these two industries is staggering. They fuel our coastal economy, employ thousands, and are significant economic drivers. >click to read< 16:10

Congress gave $300 million to help fisheries. The Great Lakes got zero. Why were they left out?!

The nationwide shutdown was especially ill-timed for fishers in the Great Lakes. “We had reports of commercial fishermen in Michigan who had a catch with absolutely nowhere to sell it,” Luckily, there was a plan in place to help commercial fishers and charter boats. But when it came time to distribute that funding, most of the Great Lakes states were left out altogether. That came as a shock to many fishers. “Right up until the final hour, a lot of the Great Lakes fishery participants thought that they were going to be included,” says Gravelle. Why the Great Lakes were left out? >click to read< 14:53

Metlakatla Indian Community suing Gov. Mike Dunleavy and senior state officials over fishing rights

The state’s sole Native reservation says the commercial fishing permit system unfairly prevents local fishermen from harvesting on their traditional fishing grounds, a right Metlakatla says is guaranteed to the tribe by Congress. The tribe of Metlakatla is asking a federal judge to prevent the state from requiring commercial fishing permits for tribal members. The people of Metlakatla have called Annette Island home since the late 19th century. That’s when roughly 820 Tsimshian people migrated with an Anglican missionary from coastal British Columbia to the then-uninhabited islands south of Ketchikan. But they weren’t just after land for a settlement. “The Annette Islands would have been worthless without access to fish and its adjacent fisheries,” attorneys for Metlakatla wrote in a lawsuit filed August 7 in federal court. >click to read< 18:06

Part 1: Port Canaveral – Culmination of A Long Awaited Dream

The original charter in 1939 established a seven-member board of port commissioners but it was not until 1941 that the Port Authority was authorized to advertise the levying of a tax with a three mill cap within the Port District, which consisted of an area bounded in the south by present-day Pineda Causeway and in the north by the southern boundary of the City of Titusville. In 1945, Congress approved the construction,,, Voters Say “Yes!” to Canaveral Harbor,, Fishermen especially were eager to see it happen and worked hard to get it approved because it would be such a quick outlet to the ocean. The closest other inlets were Ft. Pierce and Mayport (Jacksonville). In November 1947, freeholders of the Port District went to the polls and overwhelmingly approved a bond issue that would pave the way for the digging of Port Canaveral. first of a five-part series, photo’s >click to read< 15:23

CARES Act – Paycheck Protection Program: Small businesses in Provincetown, on Cape Cod report mixed emergency loan success

After the program received more than 220,000 applications for $66 billion in loans since it opened last Friday, according to the Wall Street Journal, lawmakers are working on adding money with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asking for $250 billion more.,, “I think the delay is the sheer volume of people applying,” said Chatham commercial fisherman Shannon Eldredge, who works as a navigator for the Massachusetts Fishing Partnership, which assists fishermen and their families with health care and financial help. “I’m hearing it’s going to take longer than anticipated.” Still, she said her organization and clients were pleased that the SBA was answering phones and questions and providing updates on the status of individual applications. >click to read< 11:06

Mass Delegation Urges USDA to Buy American Seafood Under CARES Act

U.S. Rep. William Keating, who represents the 9th Congressional District in Massachusetts, joined some of his Capitol Hill colleagues today in urging the USDA to include U.S. seafood companies in a $9.5 billion program designed to help farmers affected by the coronavirus. Keating, Rep. Seth Moulton, and Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and said the federal government should take steps to buy American seafood through the CARES Act agricultural assistance program. >click to read< 08:41

Coronavirus: CARES Act Helps Preserve New Jersey’s Commercial Fishing Industry, Coastal Economy

The recently passed CARES Act provides emergency loans and other forms of relief for American small businesses affected by the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The Act also included over $300 million specifically intended to help the domestic fishing industry, one of the many industries harmed by the ongoing closures necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19. This federal support is essential for the future of New Jersey’s fishing industry, which is a key part of the state’s coastal economy. According to statistics compiled by the Garden State Seafood Association, >click to read< 18:02

Federal fishries disaster funds granted To NC Fishing Industry

North Carolina will receive $7.7 million in federal fisheries disaster assistance to help the State’s fishing industry recover from Hurricane Florence. An assessment from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated that the September 2018 storm caused $38 million in damages to vessels and businesses and nearly $57 million in lost revenues. >click to read< 19:33

U.S. Commerce allocates $35M for P-cod, Chignik fisheries disaster relief

Fishermen affected by the 2018 Pacific cod and Chignik sockeye disasters will soon have access to about $35 million in relief funding. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross allocated about $65 million to fisheries disaster relief, about $35 million of which is for Alaska,, about $24.4 million will go to the Pacific cod fishery disaster and about $10.3 million to the Chignik sockeye fishery. The funding was appropriated when Congress passed the 2019 Consolidated and Supplemental Appropriations Act. >click to read< 15:02

FISH FACTOR: First checks finally set for 2016 pink salmon disaster

It’s been a long time coming but payments should soon be in hand for Alaska fishermen, processors and coastal communities hurt by the 2016 pink salmon run failure, the worst in 40 years.  Congress OK’d more than $56 million in federal relief in 2017, but the authorization to cut the money loose languished on NOAA desks in D.C. for more than two years. The payouts got delayed again last October,,, >click to read< 17:18

Herrera Beutler calls sea lion bill critical to preserving salmon habitat

For Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, the package marks her latest attempt in a series of incremental efforts aimed at boosting salmon runs without resorting to such drastic measures as breaching Columbia or Snake River dams. The congresswoman is a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee. “Now that my sea lion bill has been signed into law, I am working with members from both political parties to take the next critical step: protect salmon habitat and increase hatchery production,” Herrera Beutler said in a media release. >click to read< 12:44

Meanwhile, in Ireland, Call for a seal cull in Killala Bay>click to read<

Future of offshore fish farming in federal waters at issue in court

The potential environmental and economic consequences posed by proposals for fish farming in federal waters dictate that Congress — not a federal agency — must decide how to regulate the industry, an attorney told a federal appeals court Monday. At issue before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was a September 2018 ruling by a federal judge who threw out National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s rules for fish farms in the Gulf of Mexico, saying Congress never gave the agency authority to make them. >click to read< 14:58

Meet Chris Schillaci who Joins Greater Atlantic Region’s Aquaculture Program! – In December, Chris Schillaci joined the Greater Atlantic Region’s aquaculture program, bringing ten years of experience to his new role. We asked Chris a few questions as he was settling in. >Click to read<

Army Corps of Engineers’ Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Pebble Project is inadequate and underestimates potential impacts

Congress yesterday completed a spending deal that includes a stern warning to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding its rushed and flawed permitting process for the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska. The warning, included in a report to the appropriations bill that covers the Department of Interior’s spending,,, >click to read< 15:39

Merkley, Wyden, Pacific Coast Members Announce Major Win for Trawlers in Year-End Spending Bill

Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley, joined by Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Kamala Harris (D-CA), and U.S. Representatives Peter DeFazio (D-OR-4), Greg Walden (R-OR-2), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA-3), Kurt Schrader (D-OR-5), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-1), and Jared Huffman (D-CA-2), today announced a major, bipartisan victory for West Coast trawlers in the 2020 spending bill that Congress is expected to pass this week. The language proposed by Merkley and supported by the other West Coast Senators and Representatives would forgive more than $10 million in accrued loan interest that was forced onto the West Coast groundfishing fleet because of mismanagement by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). >click to read< 16:49

‘You’re not listening to the science’: Pebble Mine fight aired at US House hearing

For Alaskans opposed to the Pebble Mine, a hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday was an opportunity to raise the issue on a national stage, and to ask Congress to stop the proposed gold and copper mine upstream from Bristol Bay. But Alaska Congressman Don Young made it clear he didn’t think much of the hearing. He said he’s neither for nor against the mine, but he believes in science-based decision-making.,, The hearing produced sparks and several impassioned speeches, but no specific legislation.>click to read< 11:00