Romney and Ayotte were surrounded by more than a dozen local fishermen, and used the setting to highlight new limits on commercial fishing that went into effect in 2010.
With the masts of fishing vessels bobbing behind him, Romney explained that fishermen are suffering both from strict limitations from the government and the rising price of fuel. Romney said commercial fishermen burn an average of about 100 gallons of diesel fuel a day, and the president's reluctance to tap the country's oil resources will only exacerbate the price increases.
“We need a President who understands the power of free enterprise because he's lived it, and I have, and I will, and I'll make sure that's part of our future,” Romney said.
Ayotte, who endorsed Romney early in the presidential nominating process, is one of a few more than a dozen Republicans Romney has said he would consider as a potential running mate.
Romney also recently appeared with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, another lawmaker rumored to be on his short list.
Ayotte has co-sponsored legislation with Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown that would potentially scrap the new fishery management regulations that went into affect in New England in May 2010.
“Make no mistake,” Ayotte said. “Commercial fishing is part of the heart and soul of New Hampshire's economy, but more importantly, it's who we are. And maybe the bureaucrats in the Obama administration don't understand that, but thank God Mitt Romney does.”
Instead of limiting the number of working days available to commercial fishermen, the new management system requires fishermen to purchase permits and tally their catches of different fish species, such as cod and flounder, to avoid hitting a regional quota.
The system, which was implemented by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has been met with resentment by some fishermen in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
Among them are many small commercial fishing boat operators, who argue the regulations favor large fishing fleets, which can secure more permits and better adapt to the catch share system.
Five months after federal catch shares went into effect, 55 out of the original 500 boats in the New England fishery controlled 61 percent of the revenue, according to information provided last year by Ayotte's office.