U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) today vowed to continue her fight for New Hampshire's fishermen after the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) announced dramatic reductions in cod quotas.
"This decision makes no sense, given the flexibility regulators have to allow for a second year of interim measures to address overfishing," said Senator Ayotte, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee. "New Hampshire has a proud tradition of small boat fishing, which is an important part of our economy as well as our heritage. I'm also reintroducing the Saving Fishing Jobs Act, which would roll back these arbitrary regulations that are forcing our fishermen out of business."
Senator Ayotte's legislation is based on a 2011 bill she wrote that aims to level the playing field for independent small fishermen by scrapping one-size-fits-all federal catch share programs. The Saving Fishing Jobs Act of 2011 directed NOAA to work more closely with fishermen to develop new management plans for fisheries that have experienced significant job losses from catch shares in a way that will sustain not only our fish stocks, but also our fishing communities.
In her capacity as a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, which has Senate jurisdiction over the fishery, Senator Ayotte has repeatedly pushed back against what she has described as flawed catch share policies. Earlier this week, Senator Ayotte and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) wrote a letter to the Acting Commerce Secretary urging her to set the 2013 Annual Catch Limits to reduce overfishing for Gulf of Maine cod and Gulf of Maine haddock at levels that will allow the industry to survive.