The US Senate needs to support the AMERICAN FISHERIES ADVISORY COMMITTEE ACT, S1322, Joel Hovanesian

To all,
My name is Joel Hovanesian and I am a commercial fisherman who resides in RI but have held a CT. licence for some 30 years. I have a small inshore vessel now after selling my offshore boat in 2010. I have been dealing with Mike Gambardella since he started in the Borough.

I want to bring an issue forward and give insight to some thoughts. I have been an outspoken critic of the way we have been managing our fisheries here in New England and other places on the Eastern Seaboard. We all recognize the fact that regulations need to be in place for obvious reasons, however as often happens when the Federal Government gets involved with things, they have a tendency to take on a life of their own. I and many other fishermen feel the same way about this line of thinking.

The fact of the matter is this. The government regulatory industry has become bigger than the industry it regulates. The amount of taxpayer dollars used to come up with these “regulations” is out of control. As a nation we are now importing nearly 95% of the seafood we consume in the US. Consider that much of these imports come from nations with no regulatory policies and often use slave labor to produce their exports.

Of the 95 % we import, only around 5% is inspected for quality and contamination. Of the 5% that is inspected, around 60% of that is rejected because it is considered to be inedible for a whole host of reasons. Chemicals, unsanitary production, etc. Think about what that means for the other 95% that gets through uninspected! I hope it opens your eyes the next time you shop for seafood.

This brings me to crux of my comments. The AMERICAN FISHERIES ADVISORY COMMITTEE ACT. This proposal in the US Senate needs support.

Years ago congress approved the Saltonstall Kennedy act which was designed to use import duties on seafood products and take that revenue to support the domestic seafood and fishing industries. In concept it was a great idea. However somewhere along the line these funds have been hijacked by congress and NOAA and the original intent of this act has been subverted. I believe the passing of this bill will serve two goals.

1. It will get the SK act back on tract towards it’s original intent and,

2. It will reduce the incentive for congress and NOAA to promote imported seafood products to continue funding their own projects. We need to start eating American seafood products again. Basically these monies have been stolen from industry in my opinion.

This is a link to the bill which I hope you all will read and get some understanding as to what it’s about.
I look forward to seeing many of you this Wednesday and hope you feel free to ask questions!


Joel Hovanesian, Owner/Operator
F/V Defiant, Pt. Judith RI

And also. I almost forgot, Senator Blumenthal sits on the committee considering this very important bill.


FIRST SESSION JOHN THUNE, South Dakota, Chairman ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi BILL NELSON, Florida ROY BLUNT, Missouri MARIA CANTWELL, Washington TED CRUZ, Texas AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota DEB FISCHER, Nebraska RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, Connecticut JERRY MORAN, Kansas BRIAN SCHATZ, Hawaii DAN SULLIVAN, Alaska EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts DEAN HELLER, Nevada CORY A. BOOKER, New Jersey JAMES M. INHOFE, Oklahoma TOM UDALL, New Mexico MIKE LEE, Utah GARY C. PETERS, Michigan RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West Virginia TAMMY DUCKWORTH, Illinois CORY GARDNER, Colorado MARGARETWOODHASSAN ,New Hampshire TODD C. YOUNG, Indiana CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO, Nevada NICK ROSSI, Staff Director ADRIAN ARNAKIS, Deputy Staff Director JASON VAN BEEK, General Counsel KIM LIPSKY, Democratic Staff Director CHRISTOPHER DAY, Democratic Deputy Staff Director