Domestic Fishing Industry asks Congress to Scuttle New Ocean Regulations Published: 08 November, 2011
The Seafood Coalition, a broad national coalition of commercial fishing interests, seafood processors, and coastal communities that includes members from every region of the U.S. and accounts for about 85 percent of the fish and shellfish products landed annually in the U.S, is united in opposition to the Administration’s new National Oceans Policy regulatory regime.
The Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, which became federal law in 1976, set in place a unique management structure which allows for and is highly dependent upon participation by fishermen and other stake holders who are familiar with the US nation’s extensive coastal and open ocean fishery resources. Since its passage, the commercial seafood industry has worked hand in hand with federal and state fisheries managers and scientists to create an effective management process which promotes sustainable fisheries. As the current condition of US fisheries resources clearly indicate, the Seafood Coalition’s members’ investment in this process is paying off for both recreational and commercial fishermen, for the businesses that depend on them, and for seafood consumers who enjoy access to healthy and high quality domestic seafood products.
The Administration’s National Ocean Policy (and Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning) will jeopardize over thirty years of progress by creating another totally unnecessary layer of bureaucracy that could overrule the existing highly effective management process, says the Seafood Coalition.
In a letter to House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Hastings, the Seafood Coalition expressed three primary concerns with the National Ocean Policy:
* The National Ocean Policy creates a federal ocean zoning regime that will likely result in substantial new regulations and restrictions on ocean users.
* The National Ocean Policy creates a new “top down” bureaucracy that supersedes the “bottom up” regional fishery management council system and other effective management systems.
* The federal government is currently diverting money authorized for other purposes, including funds that are better used for fishery survey research and monitoring programs, to implement the new National Ocean Policy regulatory program.
In addition, the Seafood Coalition letter points out that the Administration’s National Ocean Policy is virtually indistinguishable from H.R. 21, oceans policy legislation which had been introduced in several sessions of Congress over the last decade and never gained appreciable support from either Democrats or Republicans.
For these reasons, and more, the Seafood Coalition asks Congress to bar further diversion of funds from authorized programs to implement the National Ocean Policy.
The letter is available at http://www.fishnet-usa.com/Seafood%20Coalition_National%20Ocean%20Policy.pdf.