Today's Main Story: Senate Fast Tracks Resolution to House that Will Kill USDA Catfish Inspection Program
Yesterday the U.S. Senate voted in favor of repealing the USDA’s Catfish Inspection program in a maneuver that brings the highly criticized program just two procedures away from nullification from the Farm Bill. Joint Resolution 28 (S.J. Res 28) cleared the Senate in a 55-43 vote. The resolution strikes the USDA’s Catfish Inspection program from the Farm Bill. The provision just needs to clear a House vote and a signature from the White House to be cleared into law. “We’re pleased to see the Senate take such decisive and bipartisan action in order to get rid of a duplicative regulation that has already cost untold millions in tax dollars. We look forward to the House following up with its own vote and the President once and for all closing this chapter on Washington waste with his signature,” said the National Fisheries Institute’s President John Connelly.
New Zealand’s hoki quota holders have asked the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to expedite a planned audit of the fishery in response to a report that said New Zealand’s commercial fish catch is underreported.“We remain confident the hoki fisheries are well managed, monitored and sustainable. The fisheries undergo MSC audits each year as a means to independently verify their performance, but to address the allegations we will undertake an expedited audit as soon as possible,” said George Clement of Deepwater Group, which represents the MSC certified hoki fisheries.
In other news, Alaska's budget battle is threatening 750 full-time and seasonal jobs with the ADF&G's commercial fisehries division. If a budget cannot be approved by June 1 all state workers will be on notice for layoffs starting July 1.
We run a Letter to the Editor from Tom Mazzetta, founder and CEO of the Mazzetta Company, supporting Oceana's recent call to require the Gulf of Mexico's shrimp skimmers to equip turtle excluder devices. In addition to TED requirments, Mazzetta also wants to see stiffer catch regulations and enforcement placed on the Gulf's skimmer sector.
Finally, Togiak's herring season opened and closed earlier this season. The fishery's final harvest of 15,171 tons was just slightly below the 2004−2013 average purse seine harvest. The harvest was 75 percent of the 20,148 ton harvest guideline. “The department decided to shut the fishery down before the quota was harvested because of concerns of decreasing fish size," the ADF&G said in its final report.
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