Congressman Jon Runyan (R-NJ) led a bipartisan effort to encourage the House Natural Resources Committee to mark up H.R. 2772, the Saving Fishing Jobs Act of 2011. The Congressman and several bipartisan co-sponsors sent a letter to Chairman Doc Hastings urging him to bring the bill before the full committee as soon as possible.
"I was pleased that Chairman Hastings held a legislative hearing on my bi-partisan bill," said Rep. Runyan. "I, as well as the co-sponsors of this legislation, believe that time is running out for fishermen in coastal communities throughout the country. Our nation has an unemployment rate of over 8.5% and Congress has a duty to protect the jobs our citizens currently have. This bi-partisan legislation should allow the fishing industry to return to fiscal success and help sustain many coastal communities."
H.R. 2772 seeks to re-evaluate the process of instituting controversial catch shares instituted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The bill would require the Secretary of Commerce to terminate a catch share program if it reduces the total number of fishermen in the program by 15% or more. The bill would also give local fishermen the opportunity to vote for or against catch share programs via a referendum vote. The legislation is endorsed by the non-partisan consumer watch dog Food and Water Watch.
"I am hoping that the Natural Resources Committee understands the importance of this legislation," said Congressman Runyan, "and sets a full committee mark-up on this bill as soon as possible."