2009 -- S 0227

Enacted 02/20/09



J O I N T  R E S O L U T I O N






     Introduced By: Senators Sosnowski, Felag, and Sheehan

     Date Introduced: February 11, 2009



     WHEREAS, “The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) proposes a temporary

Secretarial interim action under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management

Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) to implement measures intended to immediately reduce overfishing

in the Northeast (NE) multispecies fishery, while addressing the need to help sustain fishing

communities, without compromising rebuilding objectives” according to Docket No. 080521698-

8699-01; and

     WHEREAS, The complexity of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and the regulations to

implement this Act have created a web of confusion and bureaucracy for commercial fishermen

to negotiate and understand; and

     WHEREAS, This proposed interim action would have devastating impact on the

commercial fishing industry of Rhode Island if implemented; and

     WHEREAS, The measures proposed in this action are intended to reduce overfishing

while the possible unintended consequences include dramatic bycatch increases of any fish

managed by quota; and

     WHEREAS, The proposed Southern New England Closure Area has led many Rhode

Island commercial fishermen to secure dock space in Massachusetts in order to continue fishing

in areas that are not proposed to be closed; and

     WHEREAS, This possible transfer of effort from one New England state to another is not

considered to be sound fisheries management and will likely have a negative impact on the

species that are targeted for rebuilding in this interim rule; and

     WHEREAS, The New England Fisheries Management Council provided a number of

recommendations to NMFS in September 2008 to address the severity of the stock assessment

findings however most of these recommendations are not included in the proposed interim action;


     WHEREAS, The impact of the measures in this proposed interim action will further

devastate an industry that has been suffering through the worst economic crisis in decades; and

     WHEREAS, The State and the Nation should do everything in its power to rebuild fish

stocks and reinvigorate the commercial fishing industry in order to produce its own food supply

rather than rely on shipments of frozen fish from other countries; and

     WHEREAS, Rhode Island’s cultural and historic traditions have always valued the hard

work and food supply that the commercial fishing industry provides to residents; now, therefore

be it

     RESOLVED, That this General Assembly of the State of Rhode Island and Providence

Plantations hereby respectfully requests the National Marine Fisheries Service to immediately

suspend its consideration of this Interim Rule and continue to work with the New England

Fisheries Management Council to develop appropriate management policies that will have less of

an economic impact to the commercial fishing industry and will not result in the bycatch of other

species; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That this General Assembly shall work with the United States Senate and

House of Representatives to identify potential sources of funding to implement a vessel buy-back

program to provide commercial fisherman with viable options to leave the industry without going

into severe debt or bankruptcy; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to

transmit duly certified copies of this resolution to the members of the Rhode Island United States

Congressional Delegation in Washington, DC, Acting Assistant Administrator of Fisheries, James

W. Balsiger and Regional Administrator of the Northeast Region, Patricia Kurkul.