To protect the small businesses in New Hampshire's fishing industry who create jobs and provide important contributions to the state's economy, Governor Maggie Hassan and Attorney General Joseph Foster announced today that the State of New Hampshire has joined a lawsuit against the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and other U.S. officials challenging substantial new catch limits on many types of groundfish in New England. The regulations, Frameworks 48 and 50, were issued earlier this year by the Secretary of Commerce under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens).
"Fishing is a time-honored trade in New Hampshire, with small-boat fishermen relying on cod, haddock and other groundfish to support their livelihoods," Governor Hassan said. "The onerous restrictions and reduced catch limits put forth by the federal government could have a dire effect on the economic viability of New Hampshire's fishermen, placing one of our state's oldest and most treasured industries at grave risk and undermining an important sector of our economy. Joining this lawsuit will help us stand up for the future of New Hampshire's fishing industry by fighting back against these severe restrictions."
The lawsuit, which was filed earlier this year by the State of Massachusetts, makes clear that the new regulations would have a "devastating impact" on families and small businesses throughout New England who earn their living through fishing by reducing the allowable catch for certain New England groundfish by 77%. The complaint claims that, in addition to threatening the extinction of the groundfishing industry, Frameworks 48 and 50 are in violation of Magnuson-Stevens. The State of New Hampshire has joined the suit as an intervener in order to adequately represent the state's interests as New Hampshire's groundfishing industry would be similarly impacted by Frameworks 48 and 50.
"New Hampshire has sought to intervene in this action with Massachusetts so that our state may participate meaningfully and constructively in the legal action," Attorney General Foster said. "New Hampshire is home to a substantial groundfish industry. The State also has in place a regulatory fishery conservation and management system, and is home to citizens who actively participate in fishery issues. Any judgment or a remedial order in this case could have a significant impact on the State's economy and on its conservation programs, and by joining as an intervener we can best ensure that the needs and interests of New Hampshire are protected."