Shaheen Presses Federal Agency Leader Not to Shift Burdensome Fees to NH Fishermen
Discusses At-Sea Observer Fees in Call with NOAA Administrator
(Washington, DC) –U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today advocated for New Hampshire fishermen in a phone call with Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Shaheen specifically urged the Administrator not to force New Hampshire fishermen to pay expensive new fees – more than $700 per trip – to cover the cost of the agency’s at-sea observer program, which monitors catch sizes and collects data in the region. NOAA announced last month that fishermen will be responsible for these fees starting October 31 of this year.
“New England’s fishing industry is in crisis, with many of New Hampshire’s remaining fishermen fighting for survival,” said Shaheen. “These fees will cut into incredibly thin margins and could be the tipping point for many of our fishermen. I’ve made it crystal clear to Administrator Sullivan that these fees threaten the very existence of New Hampshire’s fishing industry.”
As a Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Shaheen included provisions in Fiscal Year 2016 legislation directing NOAA to alleviate this problem and to develop new technology that would be more efficient and cost-effective. In the call with NOAA’s administrator today, Shaheen was asking for NOAA to continue funding the program while that work proceeds.
Today Shaheen also sent a letter with U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) to the Inspector General of the Department of Commerce, calling for an investigation into the costs and operation of NOAA’s at-sea monitoring program.