Press Releases


Entries in Fishermen (13)



WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Frank Guinta (NH01) is demanding answers from a federal agency threatening to impose new fees on struggling Granite State fishermen, already coping with a dramatic reduction of their catch, due to government regulations. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has proposed shifting the costs of its at-sea monitoring program to fishermen themselves in December, after pushing the date several times.


    “Where does the agency keep finding money to delay enforcement of a measure it recognizes could put New Hampshire’s last remaining fishermen out of business?” asked Rep. Guinta, sending a letter to NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan today. He wants to know whether there could be another deadline extension coming and why the fishing industry must eventually pay to contract monitors, now NOAA’s responsibility.


    “This agency has an almost six-billion dollar budget but is ordering small, family businesses to pay its expenses,” said the Congressman. Manchester’s former two-term mayor and a member of the House Financial Services Committee added, “I have yet to hear a sufficient explanation. There are a lot of unanswered questions about this policy change, which could wipe out fishermen not just in New Hampshire but around New England.”


    Rep. Guinta introduced The New England Fishermen Preservation Act (H.R. 3661) last week to halt enforcement of NOAA’s order until the agency funds the at-sea monitoring program. “Considering how many times NOAA has delayed enforcement of new fees that will cost New England fishermen thousands of dollars each month, it’s reasonable to ask the agency to re-evaluate its finances. So far, it has underestimated its ability to pay and overestimated Granite State fishermen’s ability to comply with more heavy regulations.”


    In his letter, the Congressman asks if NOAA has measured the potential economic impact of shifting costs onto fishermen.  He writes to Administrator Sullivan, “New Hampshire is home to a centuries-long fishing legacy, and along with Granite Staters I represent, I would like to see the industry not only survive, but thrive.” Rep. Guinta urges NOAA to collaborate with local citizens and their state and federal representatives.  His letter is attached.   








WASHINGTON, D.C. – Under pressure from seacoast communities and Congressman Frank Guinta, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the federal agency that oversees New Hampshire’s fisheries, will push back by at least one month new fees it seeks to impose on the Granite State’s few remaining fishermen. 

    Rep. Guinta (NH01) said NOAA’s retreat from its proposal to charge New England anglers the cost of their at-sea monitoring, a cost the agency has typically paid, should be the beginning -- not the end -- of its effort to find other means to enforce its regulations. Already, catch restrictions have reduced Granite State boat operators to only nine.   

    “What a change from a few weeks ago, when NOAA was taking a hard line against fishermen, struggling to feed their families,” said Rep. Guinta.  “Its bureaucrats were threatening to terminate their business in the Gulf of Maine. Now, it seems they’ve found extra funds under the sofa cushions.  They should keep digging into their billion-dollar budget and cancel charges that could end a centuries-old tradition.”

Rep. Guinta speaks with the Yankee Fishermen’s Co-op in Seabrook

    Manchester’s former two-term mayor said he’s planning to quickly introduce a permanent legislative solution. “My constituents on the seacoast tell me they’re scared of their own government, trying to ‘force capitulation,’ one told me. They think they’ll face retaliation, if they go public with their situation. That’s why I’m here. We’re working together to stop this assault on a New Hampshire way of life.”


    NOAA originally proposed to shift the burden of contracting at-sea monitors to fishermen themselves in November. The figure could total thousands of dollars a month per vessel and still become reality in December.





NH House Republicans Comment on House Passage of Bill Restricting Fishermen 

CONCORD – Today House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett), and members of the House Fish and Game Committee, Assistant House Republican Leader Elisabeth Sanders (R-Danville) and Rep. John Burt (R-Goffstown) offered the following comments in reaction to the passage of SB89, a bill that would restrict the types of tackle New Hampshire fishermen can use, based on anecdotal evidence of loon deaths possibly due to ingesting lead. The bill passed 225-142.

House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett)

“Although it’s very sad that lead may have caused the death of a handful of loons, there is not enough evidence to ban an entire type of tackle that fishermen use. Fishermen come to New Hampshire from all over the region to fish in our lakes and rivers. Fish & Game Department has indicated this law would be nearly impossible to enforce. We need more study before we pass any measure as drastic as this bill. Our state’s sportsmen and outdoor industry deserve as much.”

“Last year’s interim study committee concluded that more time was needed to thoroughly examine this issue and that no legislation should be introduced in 2013. Until we have a conclusive report, this legislation is premature.”

Assistant House Republican Leader Elisabeth Sanders (R-Danville)

“After spending 6 hours listening to committee hearing testimony on SB89, and after much research to learn more facts, I am very disappointed that SB89 passed. It seems that the wishes of our anglers have been replaced with exaggerated tales of disaster. I believe that before more restrictive laws are enacted, additional unbiased studies should take place. The bill did not have the support of the Fish and Game department and commissioners. The average loss of 5-6 adult loons per year due to lead ingestion is tragic. The loss of angler confidence in our legislative decisions may have the unintended consequence of the tragic loss of fishing related revenue.”

Rep. John Burt (R-Goffstown), House Fish & Game Committee

“The science behind this legislation is unproven. We shouldn’t base a legislative decision affecting a $1.2 billion industry in New Hampshire on an unproven claim. The majority of our committee supported the recommendation of the Fish and Game Department on every bill, except for SB89. I believe we should have listened to them, the enforcement agency, and not have rushed to pass this bill they say is unenforceable they say won’t save any loons.”


Congresswoman Shea-Porter Announces NOAA Decision to Fully Fund At-Sea Monitoring for Northeast Fishermen 

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Shea-Porter announced that NOAA intends to fully fund the cost of at-sea monitors for Northeast fishermen, barring any unforeseen budgetary consequences.  The funding will come out of NOAA’s existing 2013 budget, provided assumptions on reduced fishing activity are met.

NOAA’s at-sea monitors are enforcement personnel that travel with fishermen on multi-species fisheries trips.  Due to budget constraints, they had considered having fishermen pay for the cost of these monitors.  This would have been a huge burden for New Hampshire fishermen, who are already facing difficult cuts to their 2013 quotas.

“I am thankful that NOAA has made this decision to prevent burdening New Hampshire fishermen with the responsibility of paying for NOAA at-sea monitors during this difficult time.” said Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter.  

The New Hampshire fishing fleet is comprised solely of small inshore boats, and relies almost exclusively on Gulf of Maine (GOM) Cod and Haddock.  At last month’s New England Fisheries Management Council Meeting, a 77% reduction to GOM Cod and the 72% reduction to GOM Haddock.  As a result of these conservation measures, studies have shown that New Hampshire fisherman could lose 91% of their income.


Congresswoman Shea-Porter Fights for New Hampshire’s Commercial Fishermen

Congresswoman Writes to Speaker Boehner and Co-Sponsors Amendment to Reinstate Disaster Aid

Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Shea-Porter took action to defend New Hampshire’s commercial fishing industry.  The Northeast groundfish fishery received a disaster declaration from the Department of Commerce in September because, despite fishermen’s efforts, certain fish stocks have not rebuilt.  Now, drastically reduced catch limits are being considered for the coming year.  This would means millions of dollars in lost income for New Hampshire’s commercial fishing industry, and New Hampshire would suffer the most severe economic impact of any Northeast state.

“Commercial fishing is a heritage industry in New Hampshire, and it is vital that we preserve it for future generations.  The disaster funding passed by the Senate will help the industry survive during these difficult times,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter. “I have urged Speaker Boehner to pass the disaster aid as approved by the Senate.  Since the current bill before the House contains no relief for commercial fisheries though, I have also cosponsored Representative Tierney’s amendment to reinstate the funding.”

Congressman Tierney’s amendment restores the full $150 million to the fisheries disaster funds and is paid for from other programs in the supplemental appropriation, which should be done through the regular budget process for NOAA.


Dear Speaker Boehner:

As you work to pass the Hurricane Sandy Relief bill, I ask that you do so expeditiously and without amendments that would require offsets and spending cuts.  This would be a significant break with tradition, as offsets have never been necessary to pass other disaster relief bills, such as the Hurricane Katrina relief.

I also ask that the $150 million dollars in disaster relief for commercial fishermen in the Northeast be left in the relief bill passed by the Senate.  On September 13, 2012, the Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank declared a fisheries resource disaster for the Northeast Multispecies Groundfish Fishery.  The Secretary issued this declaration because: “despite fishermen’s adherence to strict catch limits, several key fish stocks in the Northeast groundfish fishery are not rebuilding and further cuts are expected in 2013.”

With the cuts currently being considered by the National Marine Fisheries Service, New Hampshire commercial groundfishing boats could see a 91% reduction in income.  I have been advised that under this scenario, only one New Hampshire boat would survive out of the current fleet of forty-six boats.  In fact, New Hampshire would suffer the most severe economic impact out of any Northeast state.  This is because the New Hampshire groundfish fleet is comprised of all small boats that rely on cod and haddock, which are two of the most devastated species in the Northeast fishery.

Commercial fishing is a heritage industry in New Hampshire that is vital to our economy and seacoast communities.  If the industry disappears it will not only directly impact fishermen, but also processors, distributors, and local restaurants. This disaster aid funding is critical to make sure that the industry can survive in New Hampshire during this difficult time and remain a resource and economic engine for future generations.

Thank you for your attention to this request.


Carol Shea-Porter
Member of Congress