U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ-06), Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (NH-1) and Rep. Chellie Pingree (ME-01) Tuesday introduced the Coastal Jobs Creation Act of 2010. The legislation will implement a Coastal Jobs Creation Grant Program with the purpose of creating jobs in coastal communities. Currently, the National Marine Fisheries Service regulates, and closes fisheries based on "best available science" that is often insufficient to properly assess the actual status of a fishery.
By directing funding to research for better fisheries stock assessments, training and deploying observers and identifying habitats of concern this bill will allow regulators to properly manage fisheries and keep fishermen on the water.
"This bill is about rebuilding," said Pallone. "As a result of the Magnuson Act, fisheries are being closed and local fishing economies and coastal communities are paying for it. The Coastal Jobs Creation Act will help to ensure that our fishermen continue to hold the jobs that have served our communities so well."
"Our fishermen are an important part of our coastal communities and economies, and they are an irreplaceable piece of our heritage," said Shea-Porter. "Many of them have been struggling to make ends meet as tougher regulations limit their ability to fish. This bill will both help preserve our fishing industries and provide us with the science we need to make informed decisions to protect our fisheries and marine habitat."
"In the short term, this program is going to put fishermen back to work in coastal communities," Pingree said. "And over the long term it is going to provide new opportunities for jobs and economic development by investing in fishermen, the science and the infrastructure that supports our fishermen mean long lasting fishing jobs."
By compiling economic and social data related to commercial and recreational fisheries industries, regulators will have the tools necessary to understand the impact on local communities and consider the consequences before closing such a valuable resource to the community.
The recreational and commercial fishing industries will benefit from the research and infrastructure projects funded by this bill. Funding will only be provided to projects that create the greatest employment opportunities for coastal communities and which benefit the commercial and recreation fishing industries. In total the bill authorizes $80 million a year for fiscal years 2001 through 2015.
"Congressman Pallone has been a long-time advocate for the fishing industry to the benefit of fishermen in New Jersey and nation wide," said Jim Donofrio of the Recreational Fishing Alliance. "This bill has broad support in the fishing community and we look forward to the jobs that it will create up and down the Atlantic coast."
Nationwide, U.S. commercial and recreational saltwater fishing generated more than $185 billion in sales and supported more than two million jobs in 2006, according to an economic report released by NOAA's Fisheries Service.