News / Media / Press Events:

Below are relative letters, news, and press releases related to the albacore tuna fishery that may affect access to the resource and availability of albacore tuna and other seafood to the u.s. consumer:

July 7, 2016:  West Coast groups unite to fight offshore monuments that prohibit commercial fishing    — A collection of more than 40 West Coast commercial and recreational fishing groups, working in conjunction with the National Coalition for Fishing Communities, has written to the White House, the Secretaries of Commerce and Interior, and officials in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, opposing the proposed designation of marine monuments off the coast of California that prohibit commercial fishing.

Press Release

Seafood Industry Letter to President Obama

July 8, 2016: Joint WFOA/AAFA Letter on offshore monuments to Representative Jared Huffman.

AAFA WFOA – Monument Opposition – Huffman

Western Fishboat owners Association (WFOA) position on the CA offshore monuments implementation under the Antiquities Act remains as it was stated in the joint AAFA/WFOA letter of July 8, 2016 to Representative Huffman. WFOA opposes the use of the Antiquities Act to establish a monument. WFOA representing coastal pole and line albacore fishermen in CA, OR, WA, HI, and AK  opposes any exemptions for our gear type or other legal and managed gear types individually for any such monument if implemented.  We believe this is a non-transparent process and all commercial and recreational fisheries  should remain opposed to the process.

Wayne Heikkila
WFOA

U.S. House Makes Strong Statement Against Marine MonumentPosted: 14 Jul 2016 01:55 PM PDT

July 14, 2016 � The following was released by the National Coalition for Fishing Communities:

WASHINGTON (NCFC) � The U.S. House of Representatiives made a strong statement against the declaration of marine monuments last night, passing an amendment offered by Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-New York) to bar funding for the designation of any National Marine Monuments by the President.  The amendment to H.R. 5538, the Fiscal Year 2017 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, passed the House by a vote of 225-202. Congressman Zeldin represents a coastal district and the fishing hub of eastern Long Island, N.Y.

Yesterday, National Coalition for Fishing Communities (NCFC) members the Garden State Seafood Association (NJ), the Red Crab Harvesters Association (MA), the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, and Blue Water Fisheries Inc. (NY) asked fellow NCFC members to reach out to their representatives to support the amendment. The Montauk Tilefish Association (NY) and the Monkfish Defense Fund joined them in calling for support for the amendment.

Mr. Zeldin explained that he offered the amendment to keep commercial fishermen from losing access to important fishing areas through Marine Monument Designations. Opposition to the amendment was led by Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (D-Massachusetts) and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine).

“As we heard at a field hearing in Riverhead, New York, unilateral marine monument designations override the current public process of established fisheries management and threatens the livelihood of the U.S. fishing industry,” said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah).

“Congressman Zeldin’s amendment brings us one step closer to protecting local economies while safeguarding local input in management decisions,” Chairman Bishop continued. “Many Presidents—but not all�have used the Antiquities Act, but they use it spparingly. Only a few Administrations, including this one, have abused the Act. President Obama has a long history of abusing the Antiquities Act, locking up land and water with the stroke of a pen.”

“We applaud Congressman Zeldin for his leadership on protecting fishermen both in his district here on Long Island, and across America,” said Bonnie Brady of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association.

Marine Monuments are large areas of ocean where commercial fishing would be banned without consulting the local community, fishermen, or regional fishery managers. Mr. Zeldin’s amendment mandates that, “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to declare a national monument under section 320301 of title 54, United States Code, in the exclusive economic zone of the United States established by Proclamation Numbered 5030, dated March 10, 1983.”

The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate. Any differences between the House and Senate bills must be worked out between the two bodies, and a final bill is expected to be passed by both chambers before Sept. 30. Should the amendment survive the conference process, it will complicate the Obama Administration’s ability to act. While it would not stop a declaration, it would not allow funds to be spent to implement a declaration.

In 2014, President Obama declared a 407,000 square mile National Marine Monument in the Pacific Ocean where commercial fishing was banned and recreational fishing was severely limited.

Now important fishing areas in the Northwest Atlantic, on the West Coast, and in Alaska, where fishermen have worked for centuries, are under consideration for Monument designations with little public input and no transparency.

In a letter to House colleagues, Mr. Zeldin stated that there is an emerging national consensus that “any efforts to create marine protected areas in the EEZ must be done through the transparent and consultative process laid out by the landmark Magnuson-Stevens fishery conservation law. No one is more invested in protecting America’s waters from overfishing than the hardworking families who rely upon fishing for their livelihoods.”

Meanwhile in Hawaii

PAPAHANAUMOKUAKEA: HAWAII FISHERMEN GET NO RESPONSE FROM OBAMA, SCHATZ

http://www.hawaiifreepress.com/ArticlesMain/tabid/56/ID/17915/Papahanaumokuakea-Hawaii-Fishermen-get-no-response-from-Obama-Schatz.aspx

July 22, 2016 — HONOLULU — ” U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, has yet to respond to a June 20th request to meet with the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council on his proposal to expand the size of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument fourfold.

Also unanswered are letters sent by the council to President Obama on April 8 and July 14, 2016, with concerns about the impact to Hawaii’s fisheries of the proposals by Schatz and by seven Native Hawaiians in January 2016 that the president expand the monument using his authority under the Antiquities Act.

Council Chair Edwin Ebisui Jr., Executive Director Kitty M. Simonds and Vice Chairs McGrew Rice, William Sword, John Gourley and Michael Duenas reminded the Senator that the Council has federal jurisdiction over the waters within the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands beyond the current monument boundaries under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976.

“We are dismayed that you did not consult with the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council prior to distribution of your letters, which have proliferated unsubstantiated statements through the media,” the council wrote to Schaltz.

“As you yourself note, the Hawaii longline fishery uses ‘responsible and sustainable practices and has resulted in Honolulu’s recognition as one of the nation’s ten most productive fishing ports,’” the letter continued.

“This fishery is not simply about economics, it is also about the sustainability of the State of Hawaii through local food security (see the State of Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan, the Governor’s Aloha + Challenge, and the Hōkule’a Worldwide Voyage Promise to Paeaina)…. It is essential that you meet with us so that the discussion on your proposal is grounded in truth and science.”

According to his website, Schatz was in Hawaii on July 17, before heading to Asia. While in Hawaii, he met with PACOM commander Adm. Harry Harris, toured the USS America, observed the Rim of the Pacific Exercise, and met with sailors.