Congress   |    Please Don't Micromanage Our Fisheries

Don't Let Congress Sink American Fishing Jobs

Dear Congress:

Please don’t micromanage our fisheries from Washington DC.

We represent thousands of hard working fishing men and women from all over the country who want local fishermen to write the rules governing their fisheries instead of having Congress dictate them through an appropriations rider.

Through the nation’s primary fishing law, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, Congress has given regional fishery management councils made up of fishing industry representatives and others the power to write the rules governing fishing in their area. 

But in a move that would tie the hands of local fishermen, Rep. Steve Southerland recently sent a letter to appropriators seeking a rider to the Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill that would prohibit the “future development and implementation of new ‘catch share’ programs for any fishery under the jurisdiction of the Fishery Management Councils” in certain regions.   

Such a rider would prevent councils from eliminating command-and-control regulations that burden our small businesses, imperil our jobs, drive up our fuel costs, even put our lives at greater risk -- and often don’t successfully conserve fish populations. 

Although catch shares have proven successful in commercial fisheries around the world and in the United States (today, fully half the fish caught in U.S. federal waters are under catch share management) they may not be right for every fishery.  But that is a determination best made by the councils, which have local representation, not legislators in Washington, DC.  Congress micromanaging federal fisheries through appropriations riders is big government at its worst.

Please vote NO on any rider that takes options out of the hands of fishermen like us.

Born to Fish

Bob Dooley

President, United Catcher Boats
Fishery: Alaskan Pollack, Alaskan Crab, Pacific Groundfish

“Under a catch share program, you’re not racing; you’re trying to maximize the value of your product. I’ve seen catch shares deliver a more stable lifestyle for me and my fellow fishermen. Our livelihood is safer and more prosperous, and for the first time many fishermen have an opportunity to balance work and life.”

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