Changing the Catch Share Program for Local Fisheries

Via The Wire:

Bill would change fishery system

U.S. Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.) have introduced legislation that could alter New England’s fishery system. The bill would potentially get rid of a new catch share program that local fishermen have criticized.

Regulations that went into effect in May 2010 allocate shares of the allowable catch of each species to fishermen, who then pool the shares and manage them in sectors. The regulations are intended to protect fish populations while allowing fishermen some flexibility, but some say the allotments for NH fishermen are too low and will drive small fishing boats out of business while favoring larger fleets.

The new legislation, called the “Saving Fishing Jobs Act of 2011,” would terminate any catch share program that results in a reduction of at least 15 percent of participating fishermen. It would also require the secretary of commerce to create a new fishery management plan within one year and give fishermen more say in the process.

“This legislation would help level the playing field for independent small fishermen by scrapping unreasonable federal mandates that are killing jobs while giving local fishing communities more control during the program establishment process,” Ayotte said in a press release.

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