GREGG, SUNUNU, BASS, BRADLEY CONTINUE EFFORTS TO PROTECT NEW HAMPSHIRE FISHERMEN FROM HARSH REGULATIONS
Delegation calls on National Marine Fisheries Service to consider economic, social impact of implementing Framework 42 to Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan
(Washington, D.C.) - U.S. Senators Judd Gregg and John Sununu (R-NH) and Congressmen Charles Bass and Jeb Bradley (R-NH) expressed their deep concern regarding the proposed implementation of Framework Adjustment 42 of the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan in a letter to the National Marine Fisheries Service's Assistant Administrator. The delegation reiterated its concern that the regulations contained within the proposed Framework 42 would have a devastating economic and social impact on New Hampshire's fishing communities.
Under Framework 42, which the New England Fishery Management Council approved earlier this year, the number of annual days-at-sea that New Hampshire fishermen would have to fish in areas closer to shore - where the majority of the state's groundfish fleet operates - would be reduced dramatically.
The text of the delegation's letter to Dr. William T. Hogarth at the National Marine Fisheries Service follows:
August 25, 2006
Dr. William T. Hogarth
Assistant Administrator of Fisheries
National Marine Fisheries Service
1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910
Dear Dr. Hogarth,
We are writing to express our deep concern over the proposed regulations to implement Framework Adjustment 42 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan, which were published in the federal register on July 26, 2006. As we have stated in past correspondence, we strongly urge the National Marine Fishery Service to consider the social and economic consequences that Framework 42 would have on the entire region, and New Hampshire in particular, if finalized in its current version. We are especially concerned that when the New England Fishery Management Council approved Framework 42 on February 2, 2006, the Council did not have adequate time to properly analyze the economic and social effects that the proposed management measures would have on local communities.
Furthermore, we are concerned about potentially conflicting data which indicates that the targeted groundfish stocks, specifically yellow-tail flounder, are not as low as they appeared to be when the New England Fishery Management Council approved Framework 42. We strongly urge you to review and take into consideration the most up-to-date information before approving or finalizing regulations implementing Framework 42.
To ensure the New England fishery's long term health, we firmly believe in ending overfishing and rebuilding fish stocks. That said, we also believe that every effort should be made to arrive at new management measures that can meet these goals without unnecessary economic harm on our state's fishing communities. Moreover, NMFS has the obligation to ensure that any implemented regulations are consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which has limitations and parameters on the authority of the agency to impose regulations, including the ability to enact sweeping changes that may result in discriminatory treatment of certain parts of a fishery.
We respectfully request that you keep these issues in mind when making any decision to approve or disapprove the Council's work in Framework 42. Thank you for your prompt consideration of this matter, and we look forward to hearing your response.
United States Senator Judd Gregg
United States Senator John Sununu
Congressman Charles Bass
Congressman Jeb Bradley