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October 30, 2013

Senators take different tacks on fishing aid

Both U. S. senators from Massachusetts agree on the need to reform the federal Saltonstall-Kennedy Act, but Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey have adopted different strategies for arriving at that goal.

One thing seems clear: Neither Warren nor Markey appear ready to file a specific Saltonstall-Kennedy reform bill in the Senate’s current session.

The Bay State senators offered alternative means for pursuing Saltonstall-Kennedy reform this week when directly asked whether they plan to file specific legislation to reform the federal act that dates to 1954 and was designed to fund research and improve the nation’s fisheries and fishing industry.

Warren sees the road to Saltonstall-Kennedy reform going through the ongoing reauthorization process for the over-arching Magnuson-Stevens Act that governs and regulates the nation’s fisheries and fishing industry.

“Sen. Warren strongly supports reforming NOAA and the Saltonstall-Kennedy Act,” said Warren spokeswoman Lacey Rose. “During the current reauthorization process of the Magnuson Stevens Act, Sen. Warren is working with colleagues and constituents on making reforms that address the fishing industry as a whole and the many problems that have plagued the Saltonstall-Kennedy Act.”

Markey’s preference is to pursue Saltonstall-Kennedy reform through the appropriations process for the Department of Commerce, rather than through filing a bill.

“The Senate Commerce appropriations bill reflects an important step forward in reforming the Saltonstall-Kennedy grant program, and I will be fighting to make sure it is included in the final appropriations legislation,” Markey said in a prepared statement. “I also will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that we secure disaster funding for the New England groundfish fishery.”

Neither response offered specific areas within Saltonstall-Kennedy that should be targeted for reform, nor did they explain why their preferred methods for pursuing reform make the most sense.

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