US Senators Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), Ranking Member of the Senate subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, this week cosponsored legislation with Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.), to ensure that fisherman and fishing communities are not subjected to unnecessary and over-broad regulations imposed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Under National Standard 8 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act, NOAA is currently required to release a fishing impact statement prior to the ratification of any new fisheries management plan or amendment to the existing plan. The bill Senator Snowe is supporting today, the Fishing Impact Statement Honesty (FISH) Act of 2011, S. 238, expands on that requirement by calling for those impact statements to be updated annually to better track the social and economic effect of these regulations on the fishing community. Specifically, the FISH Act requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to select an independent third party to conduct the statement analysis.
“As a longtime leader in fisheries management issues, I fought hard to get National Standard 8 into law in the mid-1990s,” says Senator Snowe. “I could not be more pleased to support Senator Scott Browns legislation to strengthen the socioeconomic impact process and require an independent third party chosen by the GAO to handle the statement analysis. Fishermen in Maine and across the nation have already sacrificed a portion of their livelihood during these challenging economic times so it is critically important that we have clear and accurate data when imposing new or amended fisheries management measures on this vital community.”