Today, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) praised the decision by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to cover the costs of at-sea monitoring for the New England groundfish fleet. This comes on the heels of last week's announcement from NOAA that the groundfish fishery would be able to carry over up to 10 percent of their 2012 quota of certain species to help buffer against the effects of dramatic harvest reductions put in place for the 2013 season.
Rep. Markey and other New England legislators had recently asked for these measures in letters to NOAA Fisheries Service Northeast Regional Administrator John Bullard and Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank.
"I applaud NOAA for listening to the voices of Massachusetts fishermen and their representatives in Congress," said Rep. Markey, the Dean of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation and the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, which oversees U.S. fisheries. "These steps will soften the current economic blow for Massachusetts fishermen, but we still have a great deal of work to do if we want to help our fishing communities survive. I will keep up the fight in Congress for federal disaster assistance funding."
The NOAA plan to cover 2013 monitoring costs would be jeopardized if the so-called "sequester' budget cuts scheduled to take effect today are not rolled back in advance of the 2013 fishing season.
"Choices like these are exactly why I voted against the mindless sequester last year," Rep. Markey added. "We need more funding for scientific research, innovative monitoring solutions, and financial assistance to help fishermen, not less. A balanced approach to deficit reduction that ends subsidies for big oil and closes tax loopholes for corporations would allow us to help hardworking fishermen weather this storm."