Hearing in New Bedford
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April 19 2007 
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Story and photos by George Liles

(New Bedford, MA) – Congressmen Richard W. Pombo (R-CA) and Barney Frank (D-MA) held a hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Resources April 25 in New Bedford to consider changes in fishery management laws. Dr. Steven Murawski, NOAA Fisheries Service Director of Science Programs (and former chief of NEFSC Population Dynamics Branch!) appeared before the committee to offer testimony on two House bills to reauthorize the law that governs federally-managed fisheries in the United States.

NOAA Fisheries manages federal fisheries under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, which was passed in 1976 and has been revised several times, most recently in 1996. Congress and the Bush administration currently are working on reauthorizing the act. In September the administration released a bill that would reauthorize the act in line with the President’s 2004 Ocean Action Plan.

Pombo is Chairman of the Committee on Resources. In March, he and Frank each introduced bills that would revise the Magnuson Act. In addition to proposing his own bill (H.R. 4940), Frank is cosponsoring Pombo’s bill (H.R. 5018). The congressmen called the hearing in New Bedford to gather testimony on both bills.

Murawski’s testimony reviewed NOAA’s eight objectives in reauthorization, and stressed the importance of ending overfishing and having time-lines for rebuilding stocks. NOAA Fisheries Service’s Northeast Regional Administrator, Pat Kurkul, NEFSC director John Boreman, and NEFSC Population Dynamics Branch chief Paul Rago also attended the hearing to support Murawski’s remarks.

The committee also took testimony from a panel composed of members of the fishing industry and academic fisheries scientists including Brian Rothschild (University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth) and Andrew Rosenberg (University of New Hampshire). Rothschild is currently the director of UMASS’s School for Marine Science and Technology. Before joining the University of New Hampshire faculty, Rosenberg served as NOAA Fisheries Service’s Northeast Regional Administrator, and later as the agency’s deputy director. He was also a member of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy.

The committee hearing was held in the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

Posted April 26, 2006


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(File Modified Feb. 16 2007)