Although the public is allowed back in the legislative buildings in Raleigh, things are anything but normal. Everyone gets their temps checked upon entering and only media is allowed in the Senate and House galleries. Seating in the cafeteria is now open, although I found that most did carry out. Masks are not mandatory, so some wear them and some don’t.
As noted, the current emphasis is dealing with Covid-19 and the issues surrounding the huge budget shortfall caused by all of the restrictions. Legislators certainly acknowledge the economic hit taken by commercial fishermen, but also cannot make any commitments to any specific group until they figure out exactly how bad the budget situation is.
” Managing Our Nation’s Fisheries Is About Ensuring That Americans Have Food “
‘New Normal’ Trumpets a Bigger Role for U.S. Seafood’
May 28, 2020 — The following was released by the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council:
Leaders of the nation’s eight Regional Fishery Management Councils convened the first of their biannual meetings in 2020 today by teleconference. The Council Coordination Committee (CCC) meeting provides the Councils and heads of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to discuss issues relevant to all of the Councils. Heading today’s agenda was COVID-19 impacts on U.S. fisheries and federal efforts to address them, including President Trump’s Executive Orders on Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth and on Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery and the CARES Act $300M stimulus package for fisheries and aquaculture.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made our responsibility more poignant and highlights the often-overlooked fact that managing our nation’s fisheries is about ensuring that Americans have food,” stated Taotasi Archie Soliai, chair of the Western Pacific Council, which hosted the meeting. “Yes, management is about making certain fish stocks and protected species remain healthy. Yes, management is about guaranteeing that our fishermen can earn a decent living, pursue the sport of recreational fishing and continue their cultural traditions. But the bottom line is the goal of management of our fisheries is to ensure that our nation can provide nutritious seafood to its people from its waters, which comprise the second largest exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the world.”
Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries Chris Oliver said the agency “is looking to support a ‘new normal’ where seafood plays an even bigger role in our economy and in our households. … The Presidential Executive Order greatly adds the horsepower we needed, by codifying our role to support you. It calls for regulatory reform to maximize commercial and recreational fishing opportunities and enforcement of common-sense restrictions on seafood imports that do not meet American standards. And it places NOAA firmly in charge of coordinating the federal process for aquaculture permitting. The Executive Order and the CARES Act funding create an exciting new opportunity to address long-term challenges to expanding the domestic seafood sector.”
Offshore wind issues, bycatch and changing stock assessment status were among other items covered today. The meeting continues tomorrow and is open to the public. The agenda and conference call-in instructions are posted at http://www.fisherycouncils.org/ccc-meetings/may-2020.
Reminder: Black Sea Bass Commercial State Allocation Amendment Scoping Comment Deadline
The deadline to submit written scoping comments on the Black Sea Bass Commercial State Allocation Amendment is Sunday, May 31, 2020. This management action will consider potential modifications to the allocations of the black sea bass commercial quota among the states of Maine through North Carolina. All interested members of the public are encouraged to provide input on the range of management alternatives that should be considered in this action.
How to Submit Comments
Written comments should be submitted by
11:59 pm EDT on Sunday May 31, 2020 by any of the following methods:
1. ONLINE: http://www.mafmc.org/comments/bsb-com-allocation-amendment
2. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. MAIL: Dr. Christopher Moore, Executive Director
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council
800 North State Street, Suite 201
Dover, DE 19901
4. FAX: 302.674.5399
Please include “Black Sea Bass Commercial Allocation Amendment” in the subject line if using email or fax, or on the outside of the envelope if submitting written comments.
Please direct any questions about the amendment to Julia Beaty, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, at email@example.com or (302) 526-5250.
We were saddened to hear this morning about the passing of Jonathan Robinson of Atlantic NC, who died suddenly last evening. Jonathan was a former commercial fisherman and fierce advocate for commercial fishermen and anything “Down East”. He was currently a Carteret County Commissioner, a post he has held for several years. He was a former member of the North Carolina House of Representatives as well, and was the “go-to” member of the House for issues that affected fishing. Many member of the House and Senate will seek his opinions on fishing issues even after his tenure in the House ended.
Words are hard to come by when trying to explain how we feel at this time, especially because it was so sudden.
NCFA officers, staff and membership offer our prayers and condolences to his family and we ask that y’all do the same. We will announce arrangements as they become available.
Photo Credit: Jacksonville Daily News