On Wednesday, Congressman Jon Runyan (NJ-03) addressed an estimated crowd of over 1000 fishermen at the second annual "Keeping Fishermen Fishing' rally in Washington DC organized by national and state organizations representing commercial and recreational fishermen.
"I was grateful for the opportunity to address this important gathering and speak about the need to protect New Jersey's fishing industry and the blue-collar jobs it creates," said Rep. Runyan. "Coastal communities in Ocean County and across the nation depend on this industry. The bottom line is that we need common sense reforms to our nation's fishing laws so that we can remove the job-killing regulations that are imposed on fishermen" he added.
Congressman Runyan has introduced two pieces of legislation aimed at promoting and protecting job creation in the fishing industry, H.R. 1664, the American Angler Preservation Act and the bipartisan H.R. 2772, the Saving Fishing Jobs Act of 2011. H.R. 1664 would bring transparency and accountability to the fisheries management process. Both of these bill received hearings before the House Committee on Natural Resources last year.
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. The bill would also, among other provisions, give local fishermen the opportunity to vote for or against catch share programs via a referendum vote.
Congressman Runyan serves on the Natural Resources Committee and the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs.