November 5, 1999
Honorable William M. Daley, Secretary
U.S. Department of Commerce
14th Street and Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20230
Dear Secretary Daley:
We write to strongly urge the re-evaluation of the emergency assistance
program for Northeast fishermen. Senator Edward M. Kennedy also wrote to you
on October 25th to appeal for this re-evaluation.
The Massachusetts Fishermen's Partnership (MFP) has heard very disturbing
reports from numerous fishing vessels that have traditionally fished no where
else but in the western Gulf of Maine, west of Jeffreys Ledge. Many of these
vessels have been totally disqualified for eligibility for relief under this
assistance program. A meeting with 18 fishing vessels in Rockport alone on
November 3rd had only one fisherman present who has been qualified for at
least 10 days of reimbursement. Eight of the vessels had received
compensation for zero days. The other vessels got from two to eight days even
though they never fished anywhere except in the Framework 26/27 closure
areas. Our offices are receiving complaints from fishermen every day.
The MFP met on October 26th and formed the basis of our policy on this
- support of Senator Kennedy's request for the program to be
- request that a formal representative of the MFP be present at the
meetings where this reevaluation will be conducted and a new program
- request that none of the funds still available for this program revert
to NMFS under any circumstances.
The MFP strongly recommends that a representative group of fishermen
impacted by Framework 26/27 be convened as soon as possible to formulate a
fair solution. The MFP requests to participate in this forum.
Many fishermen have suggested that all fishing vessels reporting fishing
activity exclusively in Statistical Area 514 during 1998 and 1999 should
qualify for assistance. It has been requested by members of the MFP that
additional monies should be allocated from new funds designated by Congress
for Northeast fisheries collaborative research to fully fund a program that
would compensate all impacted fishermen fairly.
Thank you for your response to our request.
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