September 19, 2012 -- "If we get an allocation,” NOAA would like to advance selective fishing practices and at-sea monitoring, said a NOAA spokeman. To its credit, NOAA has assumed costs the industry is charged with funding. NOAA must work with fishermen. Its past gross abuses require it continue to fund sustainability programs from its own budget and give fishing families a true chance at rebuilding. To do less simply doesn’t pass the smell test.
At the urging of Sens. John Kerry and Scott Brown, and Gov. Deval Patrick, among others, the U.S. Department of Commerce last week declared the Northeast groundfish industry a disaster, opening up the possibility of $100 million in federal funds to assist the people most affected by the disaster: fishing families.
One published report paraphrased a NOAA spokesman’s email in response to the news, stating “... federal officials would like to work with states to develop spending plans to maintain the viability of the industry, advance research initiatives, and support at-sea monitoring ...” NOAA spokesman Scott Smullen later said “if we get an allocation,” NOAA would like to advance selective fishing practices and at-sea monitoring. To its credit, NOAA has assumed all costs for these sustainability programs the fishing industry has been charged with funding, but in recent years couldn’t due to its near financial collapse. NOAA should continue to do so and in doing so give the fishing community a real shot at recovery.
Relief is just that, relief for families at risk of losing their livelihoods, homes and health insurance. After years of grossly misappropriating its own budget at the expense of the industry, NOAA owes fishermen one. Legislators must closely monitor how NOAA distributes the disaster relief and send a message to it:
Back off, NOAA.
Read the full story at the Brockton Enterprise