This past Wednesday, a hearing was held by the House Natural Resources Committee on the Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act. We’ll provide more info later, but just consider it an ocean-based version of the Green New Deal. One of the witnesses at the hearing was respected fisheries scientist Dr. Ray Hilborn who criticized the marine protected area (MPA) provision of the bill, which he called “the wrong tool for adapting to climate change.”
The provision, known as the “30 by 30” plan, would require the establishment of MPAs in at least 30 percent of American waters by 2030. In his testimony, Dr. Hilborn, professor of sustainable fisheries at the University of Washington, cited numerous threats facing U.S. oceans, including climate change, ocean acidification, exotic species, land-based runoff, plastics and illegal fishing.
“There are solutions to each of these problems,” Dr. Hilborn said. “But it is not no-take MPAs – they do nothing to mitigate these problems.”
You can watch the entire 2+ hour hearing here:
NCFA was one of many signers of a letter in opposition to the bill. It was put together by several groups including Saving Seafood. The letter can be found here:
Not too much to report. Senate District 9 in Wilmington has Mike Lee back as he defeated incumbent Senator Harper Peterson in a very close race. Peterson defeated Lee in 2018.
For the race of Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court, Paul Newby came out ahead, again in a very tight race. Those votes are not under a recount.
MARINE FISHERIES COMMISSION:
The MFC started at 9:00 yesterday morning with a virtual meeting via the web. Since the meeting continues Friday morning, we’ll report on that in more detail later. It took 30 minutes and several votes just to approve the agenda!
Marine Mammal Authorization Program Carrying Over 2020 Authorization to 2021
The Marine Mammal Authorization Program (MMAP) is a mandatory commercial fishermen’s registration program that provides exemptions from the Marine Mammal Protection Act’s prohibition on the taking of marine mammals during commercial fishing activities. It applies to all fishermen who have a valid state or federal commercial fishing license permitting the use of fishing gear with a high or moderate chance of interaction with marine mammals. The MMAP requires you to: (1) carry an authorization certificate during fishing activities, (2) carry an observer when requested, (3) comply with applicable Take Reduction Plans, and (4) report any marine mammal serious injury/mortality caused by fishing operation within 48 hours of returning from the trip where the interaction occurred. Reports can be submitted online or printed and mailed in (visit https://go.usa.gov/x7866 for more information).
Fishermen are normally mailed a new Authorization Certificate automatically each January. This year, NOAA Fisheries is continuing the authorization from 2020 into 2021. PLEASE RETAIN YOUR 2020 CERTIFICATE TO MAINTAIN YOUR COMPLIANCE WITH THE MMAP. Your registration will be automatically carried over into the new calendar year.
Additional copies of the 2020 (2021) Certificate can be downloaded and printed directly from: https://go.usa.gov/x787z.