Lee Crockett, director of Federal Fisheries Policy at the Pew Environment Group, today commented on legislation introduced by Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), John Kerry (D-MA), Mark Begich (D-AK) and Jack Reed (D-RI) that economically supports fishermen and coastal communities while efforts to end overfishing and rebuild depleted U.S. fish populations are implemented.
“Senator Snowe and the other senators should be commended for introducing a bill that will fund new jobs for fishermen, promote the restoration of fisheries and fishing communities and revitalize working waterfronts. This legislation addresses current economic problems while maintaining key fish conservation measures.
“This bill will generate cooperative research opportunities for fishermen to work with federal scientists to gather much needed information for the management of fish populations. Fishermen will also get paid to use their own boats to reduce and prevent marine debris and restore essential fish habitats. All of these activities will benefit fishermen and fish alike.
“While this bill was conceived before the Gulf oil spill, these are the types of projects needed to help hard-hit fishing communities in those states most affected by our nation's worst environmental disaster. The tragedy in the Gulf underscores the need to keep fish populations healthy so they can survive unexpected events.
“In light of the current economic downturn, we urge the Senate to support this bill that will provide jobs for fishermen and benefits for fishing communities. The Coastal Jobs Creation Act will also improve fisheries management decisions through data collected by fishermen.”