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Carolina Connection: Hagan Stands Up for NC Fishermen
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Hagan Stands Up for NC Fishermen
Hagan Touring the Oregon Inlet in November 2010
ENC Today article: Hagan says law needlessly hurts fishermen
April 26, 2011
By Sun Journal Staff
North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan took her support of North Carolina fishermen past Capitol Hill this week, challenging the editorial position of the New York Times in a letter to the editor.
Hagan, D-N.C., defended proposed changes in implementing the Magnuson-Stevens Act for fisheries management that are aimed at a more realistic timetable that appears dictated by both the environmental science and the economics of commercial and recreational fishing.
The changes have bipartisan support from many East Coast congressmen including Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C. and Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C.
Hagan's letter to the editor was published in the Sunday New York Times:
"Once vibrant North Carolina fishing communities are becoming remnants of the past because of an arcane law praised in the April 21 editorial "A Good Law That's Working."
"The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires any fishery deemed overfished to be rebuilt within 10 years — an arbitrary timeline. This effectively closes fisheries without allowing for any flexibility or modern stock assessment technologies to evaluate fishery health.
"Without flexibility, fisheries that are rebuilt in less than a decade must remain closed, leaving fishermen stuck at the docks, and businesses from tackle shops to boat builders suffering. Ourcoastal economies are hemorrhaging jobs. Fishermen are now spending more time in the waters off South America's coast, where they can fish without laws that straitjacket them.
"Even scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the agency charged with fisheries management, say more stock assessments are necessary to determine the health of fisheries. This year, President Obama requested more funding for this critical function in his budget.
"I am pushing for the Flexibility in Rebuilding American Fisheries Act because we need regulations that let North Carolina fishermen do what they do best — fish in the waters off North Carolina."
Hagan speaking at a February 2010 fishermen's rally
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