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I long ago stopped believing that most corporations and politicians had the good of the public in mind. We need independent groups like Food & Water Watch to raise awareness and advocate for ethical, environmentally positive laws.
Elise Zuidema

Press Releases: Catch Shares

Press Releases Found: 16
December 12, 2012

Consumer Group Urges President Obama to Select a NOAA Administrator Who Will Change Course on Catch Shares

Statement: “While National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA)’s Jane Lubchenco has just announced her resignation, the credentials her successor should possess has already been in the forefront of our minds for some time. We hope that President Obama takes this opportunity to select a new administrator who recognizes how destructive catch shares programs have been to our nation’s fishermen and that he is prepared change course in the area of fisheries management.

“As administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Lubchenco’s catch shares programs have unfairly portioned out the privilege to catch fish, threatening the livelihoods of current and future generations of independent fishermen and the communities they support. NOOA’s new administrator should acknowledge that fish are a public resource to which our nation’s fishermen should have equal access and should not support a program that puts fishermen out of work as it has in some of our most critical port cities over the last few years.

“NOAA’s controversial catch shares programs, which are responsible for thousands of fishermen being pushed out of business, have failed to directly improve the sustainability of our fisheries. Masked as a solution to the problem of overfishing various species of fish, catch shares — an allotment or quota given to a fisherman, usually leased out for profit — grant fishing privileges to private, commercial interests, therefore presenting commercial operations a competitive advantage over smaller, independent fishing operations.”

September 13, 2012

Food & Water Watch Applauds U.S. Commerce Department Decision to Provide Relief for Nation’s Fisheries

Media Statement: “Food & Water Watch applauds the U.S. Commerce Department for declaring a national disaster for New England’s fisheries. The move will allow the federal government to offer millions of dollars in relief for fishermen and their communities. While this assistance is much needed, it is not the permanent solution to the problem.

“No one could have predicted the collapse of the cod population in New England. What was predicted was the collapse of the region’s small-boat, independent fishing industry due to the catch shares management system. Catch shares, which has been promoted heavily nation-wide by the National Marine Fisheries Service, have forced smaller-scale fishermen out of business, paving the way for industrial fishing methods that can destroy sensitive ocean habitats. Without significant funds to compensate for these simultaneous disasters, catch shares combined with the cod collapse will be the end of New England’s traditional fisheries.

September 5, 2012

The Fight Over Catch Shares Goes to the First Circuit Court of Appeals

Media Statement: “On September 5, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit will hear oral arguments in a lawsuit challenging Amendment 16, which created a federal catch share program for a number of very important fish populations including cod, haddock, and pollock, caught in the waters off of the east coast of the United States. Food & Water Watch, a national consumer group that advocates for sustainable seafood, is an “amicus curiae” or “friend of the court” for this case because of its direct impact on the way the entire nation gets its seafood.

“Food & Water Watch, believes this program has spurred massive consolidation of the fishing industry, granting preference to industrial-scale fishing operations that utilize environmentally destructive fishing practices over smaller-scale operations.
In its rush to push the program, the government also violated the law by ignoring that the program could only be implemented if approved by fishermen in a referendum. It also failed to adequately analyze the environmental and socio-economic impacts of the catch share program.

April 11, 2012

Food & Water Watch Announces New Program Scrutinizing Market-Based Schemes Affecting Common Resources

Press Release: Today, national consumer organization Food & Water Watch announced a new program to scrutinize the largely unchallenged claims that market-based schemes like pollution trading, water markets, privatization and commodification of common resources will help reduce pollution and manage our water resources.

February 1, 2012

New England Fisheries Can Blame Catch Shares for Revenue Consolidation and Underfunded Stock Surveys

Media Statement: Washington, D.C.—“Today, the New England Fishery Management Council takes up a nearly impossible task. Faced with a new, abysmal stock assessment for cod, the Council will be weighing their obligation to preserve fish populations for the future against their responsibilities of managing a healthy fishing industry. Unfortunately, the Council and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) have spent the last few years painting themselves into a corner. By initiating a catch shares system in New England, the Council and NMFS have restricted their flexibility to mitigate disasters like the dramatic decline of the cod population.

“Early estimates suggest that the allotment of cod for commercial fishermen in 2012 could be 90 percent lower than the catch allowed in 2010. This is likely to result in a 25 percent decline in income for groundfishermen, with fishermen in New Hampshire and Maine hit even harder (91 percent and 54 percent, respectively). The ill-conceived catch share program has already created economic havoc by consolidating the industry. In 2010, 7.6 percent of the fleet accounted for 50 percent of all groundfish revenues. 165 crew jobs were lost in the first year of catch share implementation and 73 boats left the fishery.

January 13, 2012

Food & Water Watch Says Obama’s Plan to Slim Down Government Hurts Oceans; Warns Against Consolidation of Food Safety Regulatory Agencies

Media Statement: “We are deeply concerned about President Obama’s proposal to move the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to the Department of the Interior, the same Department that brought us BP’s Deepwater Horizon.

“While the mission of NOAA is not consistent with the mission of the Department of Commerce where it currently resides, moving it to the Department of Interior will fail to eliminate any conflicts arising from dueling mandates.

December 1, 2011
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House Committee on Natural Resources Hosts Hearing on Saving Fishing Jobs Act of 2011

Media Statement: “In a sure sign that a crucial bill to prevent the abuses of catch shares is gathering momentum, today members of the House Committee on Natural Resources held a legislative hearing to consider, among other measures, the “Saving Fishing Jobs Act of 2011,” introduced in August by Representatives Jon Runyan (NJ-3), Walter Jones (NC-3), and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18).

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House Committee on Natural Resources Hosts Hearing on Saving Fishing Jobs Act of 2011

Media Statement: “In a sure sign that a crucial bill to prevent the abuses of catch shares is gathering momentum, today members of the House Committee on Natural Resources held a legislative hearing to consider, among other measures, the “Saving Fishing Jobs Act of 2011,” introduced in August by Representatives Jon Runyan (NJ-3), Walter Jones (NC-3), and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18).

November 16, 2011
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Food & Water Watch Report on Controversial Gulf of Mexico Catch Share Programs Finds More Consolidation, Job Loss

Washington, DC – On Wednesday, the national consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch released a report on the effects of catch share programs on Gulf of Mexico fisheries. Analyzing brand new federal government data, the report, entitled A Closer Look at Catch Shares in the United States: The Gulf of Mexico, reveals that Gulf fisheries managed under one controversial program have seen significant industry consolidation and job losses and that certain catch shares programs have failed to meet ecological goals. The report comes a day after congressional sponsors of a bill to continue a recently enacted ban on new catch share programs along the east coast and Gulf of Mexico confirmed that Congress had reached an agreement to kill the vote.

June 16, 2011
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Food & Water Watch Announces Report, National Campaign Calling on Congress to End Destructive Fisheries Management Program

Press Release: On Thursday, Food & Water Watch launched a campaign calling on Congress to stop the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from further expanding a widely unpopular fisheries management program known as catch shares — a program that has resulted in job loss for thousands of fishermen across the United States. The national consumer advocacy group also released a report revealing that the number of catch share programs, which grant once-public access to fish to private interests, have increased by 150 percent (from 6 to 15) in the United States in less than a decade, while NOAA plans to expand the programs by an additional 33 percent in the next 5 years.

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