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Mr. LoBiondo. Mr. Chair, I rise today in opposition to the Campbell Amendment. This amendment would bar funds in the bill from being used to fund a $600,000 project for the Partnership for Mid-Atlantic Fisheries which I requested along with Reps. Bishop, King and Pallone. In addition, it reduces by $600,000 funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA.
The Partnership for Mid-Atlantic Fisheries is a multi-state partnership comprised of commercial and recreational fishing organizations and academic institutions in New Jersey and New York. It is dedicated to the design and implementation of scientific projects addressing critical needs to improve the assessment and attainment of sustainability for the most important fisheries of the Mid-Atlantic region.
The project the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee has chosen to fund and which this amendment bars funding for is titled ``Summer Flounder and Black Sea Bass Initiative.'' The goal of this initiative is to gain data to address the most urgent scientific issues limiting successful management of the summer flounder and black sea bass fisheries in the Mid-Atlantic region. This data will then be provided to the National Marine Fisheries Service, regional councils, and state regulatory bodies to be used in the assessment process carried out by these groups. This assessment process is used to estimate maximum sustainable yield, and from this, yearly fishing quotas.
Summer flounder and black sea bass are among the most valuable commercial and recreational fish species in the Mid-Atlantic region. A reduction in total allowable catch for summer flounder since 2004 decreased the commercial and recreational fisheries by over 37.7 percent with an economic impact in excess of $47.3 million per year. In 2008, the Partnership for Mid-Atlantic Fisheries provided necessary data leading to a relaxation of quota reductions in 2009. This was an important first step in improved management of this species which can continue with funding for this project.
In 2009, the black sea bass quota was cut 44 percent, costing the economies of the Mid-Atlantic an estimated $92 million. Without additional research on critical data inadequacies the continued viability of this vital fishery is endangered.
Cape May, New Jersey in my Congressional District is the second busiest commercial fishing port on the East Coast. The data this initiative could produce and the yearly fishing quotas it could impact have direct effects on the economy of my district. This would impact not only the commercial fishermen and their families, but recreational anglers and the shore-based infrastructure both groups rely on--docks, packing houses, bait and tackle shops, marinas, etc., as well as the restaurant owners and seafood markets.
The $600,000 set aside by the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee for the ``Summer Flounder and Black Sea Bass Initiative'' for the Partnership for Mid-Atlantic Fisheries will provide essential data which has the ability to directly impact the economy of my Congressional District. For this reason, I join Reps. Bishop, King and Pallone in strongly opposing the Campbell Amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science FY 2010 Appropriations bill and urge my colleagues to do the same.