Fishing Industry Groups Join Huffman, Grijalva, in Opposing Trump’s Economically Damaging Executive Order
Washington, D.C. – Water, Power, and Oceans Subcommittee Ranking Member Jared Huffman (D-CA) and House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) sent a letter to President Trump today urging him to rescind the “one in, two out” executive order on federal rules issued earlier this week and an earlier memorandum instituting a regulatory freeze. These two actions have the combined effect of preventing the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) from opening or closing commercial and recreational fishing seasons in federal waters; making in-season adjustments to conservation and management measures; or implementing new or revised fishery management plans without first seeking a waiver from the Trump administration.
The full letter is available here.
“President Trump’s ‘one regulation in, two regulations out’ policy sounds more like a Dr. Seuss book than a smart and thoughtful approach to federal standards that protect clean water and ensure healthy fisheries,” Rep. Huffman said. “But the real world doesn’t work like ‘One Fish, Two Fish’ or other Dr. Seuss classics. In fact, regulations are frequently necessary to do basic things we rely on to manage fisheries, like deciding when fisheries should be opened, closed, or limited in response to a constantly changing circumstances. If we now must eliminate two regulations every time a fishery is managed, there will be complete chaos, not unlike ‘The Cat in the Hat.’ Our fisheries and coastal economies should not have to suffer these consequences. I urge President Trump to immediately rescind this dangerous executive order that will have real impacts on my constituents’ livelihoods.”
“This is just the latest evidence that President Trump is thoroughly unprepared to govern our country,” Grijalva said today. “Hardworking fishermen and their jobs should not become collateral damage – or worse, targets – of the Trump Republicans’ crusade to tear down the rules that support sustainable economic development, public health, and safety.”
Already, NMFS has delayed the effective date of a rule necessary to facilitate transfers of Atlantic Bluefin tuna quota between fishery participants. Industry insiders fear that the Trump orders could also prevent the opening of lucrative halibut and sablefish fisheries in Alaska.
Huffman and Grijalva were joined in opposition to these mandates by the leaders of several fishing organizations, who offered the following statements:
“Regulations serve the full spectrum of purposes. In federal fisheries, some protect fishermen, some protect fish, and some protect coastal economies. All have been developed through a comprehensive public process informed by scientific analysis that seeks to balance present and future needs. The executive order requiring two regulations to be repealed for everyone one implemented ignores this balance and poses a threat to the future of America’s federal policy in general and federal fisheries management in particular. The ecological and economic costs could be significant.” - Linda Behnken, Executive Director, Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association
“The process of managing recreational fishing involves the setting of annual regulations such as size limits, bag limits and seasons for literally hundreds of species in every nook and cranny of our nation. Even a moderate interpretation of the executive order will interrupt recreational fishing from coast to coast. The result will be a chaotic interruption in the quality of life for millions of citizens, many millions of dollars in lost revenue and who knows how many lost jobs.” – Patrick Paquette, Government Affairs Officer and Past President, Massachusetts Striped Bass Association
“We are all striving for smarter, straightforward regulations but that needs to be done through a targeted and strategic process. Having to arbitrarily negate two regulations in order to change management rules is not cost-effective nor is it simple. Rather than solve an issue, this order will hinder and complicate an already complex process for our nation’s fishermen. New regulations do not prohibit fishermen from doing their jobs; instead, they often put new science on the water and make it easier for fishermen to make a living. We should not be slowing this process further but instead finding faster ways to get science and streamlined regulations on the water. While the president’s new order seeks to simplify, in reality, it may unintentionally hinder progress on the water and for our fishing businesses.” – Ben Martens, Executive Director of Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association and member of Fishing Communities Coalition
“Regulations have been enacted for a reason. We have learned to live with them, and we have prospered by them, and so have the rural communities where we make our living off of our fantastic fishery resources. The development of sound policy on the West Coast is a highly vetted process that involves an array of stakeholders that provide a sound perspective. To negate this process and the work that went into crafting sound policy not only flies in the face of those that volunteer their time to these processes, but it compromises the very food base that feeds our communities.” – Bob Rees, Executive Director, Association of Northwest Steelheaders