USA: subsidies for at-sea monitoring (catch shares program)

Recently I came a across a couple of articles in the online edition of East-coast newspapers. The first article, posted at Southcoasttofday.com, dated 13 October 2011, is titled “Senators say bill seeks to protect fishermen, taxpayers”. It is about a bill co-sponsored by Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H. that, if enacted, could, according to the newspaper “roll back” the catch shares programme in the ground fish industry. The newspaper quotes the following a statement by Senator Kelly Allote:

"To date, these costs have largely been subsidized by taxpayers, and fishermen will soon have to bear these additional costs themselves, which could push small fishermen out of business completely." 

In the article it is stated that the cost runs from 6 to 12 million USD per year. The full statement of Senator Allote can be found here:

A later article, also in the Gloucester Time and dated 20 October 2011, refers to a field Senate Commerce Committee hearing in Boston, where National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  (NOAA) Administrator Ms. Jane Lubchenco answered questions from Senators on the implementation of the catch shares programme in the East Coast.  The article mentions Ms Lubchenco pledge to continue to subsidise the at-sea monitoring cost through April 2013.

There is also a reference to reference to a letter by Ms Lubchenco, in response to a letter from Senator Kerry, where she  is ready to work with interested parties to issue, if necessary a commercial fishery "disaster declaration" related to the impacts of the catch share regimen on the groundfishery. This “disaster declaration” can trigger the payment of subsidies to fishermen.

Here is a link to Senators Kerry’s webpage where readers can find the requests addressed by Senator Kerry to NOAA and the response letter from Ms. Lubchenco.

Here is also the link to the Senate’s Commerce Committee website where readers can find the written statements related to the field hearing in Boston on 3 October 2011:

And here are the links to the press articles:

I also include the link to two video's. One is from Senator Allote questioning a Department of Commerce nominee on fisheries issues: 

And another from Mayor Carolyn A. Kirk, Democrat Gloucester Massachusetts asking  President Obama "to Stop New Regulations Driving Small Businesses Out of Business". The video was posted on 4 October 2011, i.e. one day after the field hearing of the Senate's Commerce Committee:

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