Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen joined a large number of her colleagues from both parties urging House appropriators to restrict federal funding for the development or approval of new catch share programs for any fishery residing along the Atlantic seaboard.
The letter, sent to Chairman Harold Rogers of the House Appropriations Committee and to Ranking Member Norman D. Dicks, specifically states that "The last thing the American government should be doing in these economic times is spending millions of taxpayer dollars to expand programs that will put even more Americans out of work." The letter also acknowledges the negative impact that catch shares have had on the employment situation in fishing communities throughout the East coast, including in the Florida Keys, which Ros-Lehtinen represents.
Ros-Lehtinen has also co-sponsored legislation that will hold NOAA accountable for consolidating fishing fleets in the catch share programs that can result in fishermen losing their jobs. The bill "Saving Fishing Jobs Act" includes, amongst other provisions, a clause that would require the Secretary of Commerce to terminate a catch share program if it would reduce the total number of fishermen in a catch share by more than15%.
Said Ros-Lehtinen, "There is clear undeniable proof that catch shares programs are causing serious economic harm in many fishing communities. The federal government should not be financing the development or approval of new catch shares programs because they are causing many hardworking fishermen to lose their jobs. This is unacceptable during these tough economic times. We are requesting that the appropriators restrict the use of federal funds so they cannot be used to create more catch shares programs. This is a responsible solution to this problem."