As the 2016 commercial fishing season gets underway, I'd like to share some recent accomplishments that demonstrate my commitment to stand up for our fishermen and our coastal communities.
1. NOAA Changes its Observer Program
After uniting New England's congressmen and senators to pressure NOAA to make changes to its onboard monitoring program, which is estimated to cost fishermen $710 per trip, the agency announced last week that it will be making changes to the program to make it less burdensome for fishermen, utilizes better statistical models to monitor fish stocks, and is more cost-efficient.
This is a big win for our fishermen, and is a testament to the work we can accomplish through bipartisan collaboration.
2. Going to Bat for our Lobster Industry
Gloucester is the state's largest lobster port, where 140 permitted lobstermen recorded 2.28 million pounds of lobster landings in 2014 with an off-the-boat value of $12.28 million. As the second-largest lobster fishery in the nation, the Massachusetts maritime economy is inextricably linked to this ocean resource.
For centuries, Europe has been one of the largest markets for American lobster and is currently estimated to account for one-fifth of all U.S. lobster exports. But right now, efforts are underway to permanently ban U.S. exports of American lobsters into the European Union. This could have unprecedented consequences for the hardworking lobstermen of the North Shore and throughout Massachusetts.
When I ran for Congress, I made a commitment to fight for our fishing communities in Washington. That is why I rallied my colleagues from the Massachusetts Delegation in a letter to the Obama Administration calling for immediate action to address this unwarranted move by the European Union to ban the transatlantic lobster trade.
Our fishermen and lobstermen need a champion in Washington, and that is why I need your support to keep up the fight and ensure that our coastal communities continues to thrive in the Sixth District and throughout Massachusetts.