GREGG, SUNUNU, BASS, BRADLEY URGE NATIONAL FISHERIES SERVICE TO SEEK ALTERNATIVES TO FRAMEWORK 42
Current proposal would have devastating effect on New Hampshire's fishing industry
(Washington, D.C.) - In a letter to Dr. William Hogarth, the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries at the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), U.S. Senators Judd Gregg and John Sununu (R-NH) and Congressmen Charles Bass and Jeb Bradley (R-NH) urged the NMFS to seek alternatives to Framework Adjustment 42. This proposal, recommended by the New England Fishery Management Council, would reduce the number of days and restrict the areas where fishermen are allowed to fish. Should the proposal be implemented, it would have a devastating effect on New Hampshire's fishing industry as the restricted area is closer to shore, where the vast majority of New Hampshire's fleet operates. The proposal is currently under review at the NMFS.
The text of the delegation's letter to Dr. Hogarth is below:
April 20, 2006
Dr. William T. Hogarth
Assistant Administrator of Fisheries
National Marine Fisheries Service
1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910
Dear Dr. Hogarth:
As you know, on February 2, 2006, the New England Fishery Management Council approved management measures to further protect groundfish stocks off the coast of New England, known as Framework Adjustment 42 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. The draft Framework 42, as recommended by the Council, will reduce allocated Category A days for all vessels by eight percent and also count days-at-sea at a rate of two hours for every hour underway in a defined area in the inshore Gulf of Maine and an area off Southern New England. It is our understanding that draft Framework 42 is currently under review and awaiting approval from your office.
If Framework 42 is approved as currently written, it will have a devastating effect on the entire region's fishing industry and New Hampshire's fleet in particular. The area designated to have the days-at-sea counted twice is the only place that the smaller fishing boats can operate. Industry offices estimate that of New Hampshire's approximately 50 groundfish vessels, as few as four are capable of operating outside of the 2:1 counted days-at-sea area. For the affected boats, the drastic reduction in Category A days would result in a days-at-sea allocation far below economically sustainable levels. Moreover, such an action would irreparably harm any remaining boats by eviscerating the surrounding fishing infrastructure and the affected communities of the Seacoast. The loss of New Hampshire's entire fishing fleet also would severely damage the state's economy.
We respectfully request that you review all alternatives to Framework 42 and work with both environmental and industry groups in the development of a new alternative plan that will enable the fish stocks to meet their targeted rebuilding levels, while at the same time not bankrupting the vast majority of New Hampshire's fishing fleet.
Thank you for your prompt consideration of this matter, and we look forward to hearing your response.
U.S. Senator Judd Gregg
U.S. Senator John Sununu
U.S. Rep. Charles Bass
U.S. Rep. Jeb Bradley