and photos by George
(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
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.
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
April 26, 2006