Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Harvesters Coalition Supports Small Boat Fishing Communities

Commercial harvesters advocating for small boat fishing communities and sustainable fisheries were in Washington DC this past week, advocating for the proposed National Young Fishermen’s Development Program. The bipartisan initiative from the Fishing Communities Coalition focuses on tackling the high cost of entry, financial risk and limited entry-level opportunities for young men and women wanting to begin a career in commercial fishing.

“Young fishermen today must navigate a tough obstacle course to enter this proud and important profession, which is why we are heartened to see growing support in Congress for this initiative” said Linda Behnken, executive director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association. “Empowering the next generation of fishermen with the tools they need to succeed is crucial to the survival of many coastal communities across the country.”

FCC members discussed with Congress a range of priorities related to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. These included maintaining science-based decision making, improving monitoring and accountability, strengthening community protections, fully funding science need to responsibly manage fisheries, and reducing bycatch.

The group of FCC members from Alaska, New England and the Gulf Coast met with more than 30 congressional offices and committees, to emphasize building on the success of the Magnuson-Stevens legislation, which has helped rebuild depleted fish stocks through sustainable fisheries management. Thanks to MSA and other federal, state and local sustainability initiatives, the US has rebuilt 40 marine fish stocks in U.S. waters since 2000, the group said. Commercial fisheries and seafood related industries currently support 1.4 million American jobs and generate $153 in annual sales, they said.

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