Senator John Kerry today released a statement on a new federal report highlighting that many Massachusetts fishermen -- particularly small boat fishermen -- have been negatively impacted by recent federal regulations.
The report, released this morning from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), found that "the trend of consolidation of revenues on fewer vessels that began during the last decade continued in 2010." In 2009, 20% of vessels captured about 68% of groundfish gross revenues. In 2010, the same number of boats captured nearly 80% of groundfish gross revenues.
"I've been pressing a long time now to get a disaster declaration and other specific actions to help Massachusetts' small boat fishermen. I can see a clear path forward to get there. Today's report underscores the economic hardship caused to small boat fishermen because of the consolidation in the industry which is abetted by federal policies. I said at the field hearing that their way of life wouldn't end on my watch, and I mean it," said Sen. Kerry. "We're working hand and hand with Governor Patrick to get NOAA the additional "targeted data' they've requested again today to fill out the picture of what's happening to fishermen in Massachusetts, and alongside today's new findings, this second application must be the long-awaited catalyst needed to finally deliver a disaster declaration. The NOAA Administrator has instructed her team to review our application on an expedited basis in light of today's findings. In the mean time, I'll continue working towards Secretary Bryson's upcoming visit to Massachusetts, and will continue pressing for other actions including increasing the rollover percentage of unused quota. Every single day I want to know that we're meeting, talking, and working on very specific steps to help our fishermen."