The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is readying a high-profile response to a U.S. Senate coalition request for improvements and reforms to the mechanics tied to the catch share fishing regulatory system that's widely being viewed as a prime reason for a consolidation of New England's fishing fleet, and the loss of jobs and businesses within in industry.
Numerous blunt recommendations were made in a July 26 letter from the U.S. senators of four New England States.
These include reducing the cost of on-board monitors, elimination of leftover effort controls fro the past management system — such as closed areas for non-harmful gear types — better data and data management, increased attention to socio-economic implications of management policies, and access to unused quota.
The senators also expressed concerns about a permit bank system that was rolled out by NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco without any vetting or analysis at the New England Fishery Management Council; the senators also asked for input by the industry in political appointments connected to fishery management.
A reliable NOAA source told the Times Friday that "a response is likely before the Kerry hearing."
Sen. John Kerry last week announced plans for an Oct. 3 field hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee in Boston, where Lubchenco has agreed to appear and face questions. Her unavailability has led to a series of false start plans for the hearing, which Kerry promised last winter to hold in the spring or summer.