FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

November 4, 2015

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Fishing Communities Coalition (FCC) issued the following statement on their fly-in visit to the Capitol:

We are pleased to announce that FCC members had a successful trip to Washington, D.C. to meet with lawmakers and Administration officials to discuss the importance of maintaining strong fishing communities and the actions they can take to support the small boat, commercial fishermen that make up these communities.

Nine representatives from the FCC’s five member groups (Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance, Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance, Alaska Marine Conservation Council, and Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association) spent two full days  on Capitol Hill highlighting issues important to their members  including: bycatch reduction, the inequities of  reallocating quota from the commercial sector to the recreational sector, the need for improved fisheries data collection, At-Sea Monitoring and Electronic Monitoring, and a strong Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization bill. These issues are nationally significant as they affect the 1,000+ fishermen the FCC represents and have the opportunity to set important precedents to ensure the preservation of the fishing industry and its rich culture in our communities. FCC members met with more than 20 congressional offices, as well as with representatives from the Department of Commerce, State Department, and the National Marine Fisheries Service to bring these issues to the national stage.  

“It was a privilege to be able to provide Congressman Don Young information about the huge bycatch problem we are facing in the Alaskan halibut fishery. For every one fish caught by the directed fishery, seven are killed and discarded by the trawl fishery. This has prompted draconian cuts to the historic directed fishery, threatening the survival of many remote fishing communities.” – Shannon Carroll, Fisheries Policy Director, Alaska Marine Conservation Council.

“Meeting with so many offices afforded the FCC the opportunity to raise the issue of the high cost of implementing At-Sea Monitoring programs, especially in Alaska and New England. As NMFS is looking to transfer the costs of ASM to the New England groundfish fleet, this was a great opportunity to highlight the importance of a dual system that incorporates a more cost effective system, like electronic monitoring. – John Pappalardo, Chief Executive Officer, Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance

“The Gulf region has continued to face an onslaught of legislation seeking to override the strong management process put in place by the Magnuson-Stevens Act and allow states to take over the management of Red Snapper. These meetings provided a great way to highlight the dangerous precedent that these pieces of legislation would set and to educate offices in other regions about what this could mean for national fisheries management. Ensuring that the MSA remains as the nation’s presiding fisheries management legislation is not only critical for the continued rebuilding of red snapper, but for rebuilding efforts around the nation.” – Eric Brazer, Deputy Director, Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance

FCC representatives forged new relationships with Members of Congress and intends to continue these outreach efforts. Our fishermen were well received and will continue to build broad support on both sides of the aisle for strong, science-based fisheries management that gives small boat, commercial fishermen and their dependent fishing communities the recognition they deserve.