Outrage At NOAA’s Refusal

On February 16, 2011, ten members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, led by Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC), took a stand to support U.S. fisheries and fishing families. In a letter to the Department of Commerce, the legislators denounced a fisheries management tool known as catch shares - an unfair means of deciding who gets to make a living from fishing. According to President Obama's new budget, catch share programs will receive over $54 million in funding.

Catch shares re-distribute access to fish, usually from smaller-scale fishermen to larger, more industrialized operations. Catch shares have been proven to decrease job opportunities and wages for workers, skew fisheries toward industrial production, and devastate the socio-economic well-being of coastal and fishing communities.

We congratulate these legislators for supporting U.S. fishermen in their desperate battle to hold on to their jobs and stop the privatization of fisheries.

It is an outrage that, despite widespread protest, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has stubbornly refused to discontinue pushing catch share programs nationwide, repeating the rhetoric that these new measures will help rebuild fish populations and provide safety and economic stability for fishing communities. Now, unbelievably, the President’s budget proposes millions be allocated to this senseless program.

It is our hope that these Congressional members will continue to fight for our fishermen, the health of our oceans, and our economy by insisting NOAA pursue more sensible and equitable fisheries management programs.


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