Today, the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs held an oversight hearing on "Empty Hooks: The National Ocean Policy is the Latest Threat to Access for Recreational and Commercial Fishermen." Representatives from the charter, commercial and recreational fishing industries testified on the implications of President Obama's National Ocean Policy. Established by Executive Order 13547, the National Ocean Policy creates a new, top-down bureaucracy that could restrict access for the fishing industry, increase industry overregulation and create conflicts in fishery management.
"The Obama Administration has proposed a National Ocean Policy that will add new regulations and implement closures that will affect fishermen as well as inland activities. Of the nine National Priority Objectives in the National Ocean Policy, four call for closed areas or restrictions on activities - including fishing. To make matters worse, the Policy requires that all of these decisions be made by federal officials behind closed doors. There is no opportunity for direct stakeholder participation in these decisions. At a time of tight budgets, I believe this new Policy is draining resources away from existing missions and duties of a number of federal agencies. Yet this Administration either cannot, or will not, answer questions about where the funding for this far-reaching national zoning effort is coming from," said Chairman John Fleming (LA-04).
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