WASHINGTON (Saving Seafood) May 1, 2012 -- Senators John Kerry and Scott Brown, together with Congressmen Barney Frank, John Tierney, Stephen Lynch, and William Keating have written to the Secretary of Commerce asking for the following:
An emergency regulation to temporarily allocate a higher allocation for yellowtail in this fishing year.
Additional funding beyond what has been announced from the scallop set-aside program for the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) on their yellowtail avoidance program.
Direct the New England Fishery Management Council to maintain the yellowtail quota given to scallopers to ensure their continued participation in the avoidance program and not provide a disincentive to participation by decreasing the scalloper quota based on the program's avoidance success.
Explore any further flexibility the International Fisheries Clarification Act might provide and look at the possibility of increasing the yellowtail TAC toward the high end of the allowable range.
Implement a side-by-side trawl survey tows using a commercial vessel to compare data from the research vessel Bigelow and provide a more reliable assessment of this species, because they have been advised by experts that the "four seam bottom trawl equipped with a rockhopper sweep" is not the most efficient means of catching groundfish.
The text of the letter follows: