Congresswoman Chellie Pingree is applauding legislation the President signed on Tuesday that will allow fisheries managers to set more equitable catch limits for U.S. fishermen in grounds shared with Canada. Pingree was an original cosponsor of the legislation the law is based on.
"This legislation is going to allow our fisheries managers to set catch limits that will continue to strengthen fish stocks while allowing Maine fishermen to take a more equitable share with our neighbors in Canada," said Pingree. "Allowing New England fishermen to catch more fish will provide a critical boost when they really need it. At the same time it will pave the way for commonsense management that can balance responsible conservation and fair competition."
For years, U.S. fisheries managers have been at a competitive disadvantage when negotiating catch limits for grounds shared by both the U.S. and Canada off the Northeast Coast. Under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the U.S. has had to keep a 10-year timeline to restoring fish stocks while Canada did not have to follow a similar regulation. As a result, fishermen from Canada have been allowed much higher catch limits.
The legislation signed into law yesterday clarifies that the understanding between the two countries is the kind of "international agreement" that is exempt from the 10-year rebuilding component of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Regulators will now have the ability to set a longer restoration period, allowing for increased catch limits so U.S. fishermen can compete more evenly with Canadians.
"This is great news for Maine fishermen," said Pingree. "They just want the chance to compete on an even footing and I'm very glad we can finally give them that opportunity."