News

Op-Ed: Red Snapper Limits Help Louisiana’s Restaurants and Economy

February 8, 2016 - Published in News Clippings

Brett Veerhusen, Executive Director of the Seafood Harvesters of America, and Chef Haley Bittermann of the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group co-authored an op-ed in The Times-Picayune on the benefits of federal fishery management for red snapper.

“Since 2000, more than 37 overfished populations nationwide have been rebuilt to sustainable levels, and 91 percent of U.S. fishery stocks are not experiencing overfishing. Gulf red snapper — one of America’s most prized food fish — is caught predominantly by small, family-owned commercial fishing businesses in the Gulf of Mexico. Before the MSA, years of chronic overfishing and mismanagement depleted its stock. Thanks to a strong MSA, the red snapper was saved and its recovery continues.”

Read the full op-ed here.

 

Seafood Harvesters Respond to Congress Passing The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015

February 2, 2016 - Published in News Releases

Seafood Harvesters Respond to Congress Passing The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015
More certainty needed for larger vessels, alternative compliance program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 2, 2016

Washington, DC – The Seafood Harvesters of America issued the following statement after the House and Senate unanimously passed H.R. 4188, the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015.

The Seafood Harvesters of America commends the Senate and House for passing H.R. 4188, the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015. We are pleased that Congress recognizes that the 2010 Coast Guard Authorization Act requirements impose significant costs for vessels measuring 50-190 feet in length. The 2015 bill attempts to address some of these burdensome costs for new vessels up to 79 feet in length by allowing these vessels to join the prescribed alternative safety compliance program, rather than be built and maintained to class. However, the Harvesters remain concerned about the effectiveness, added costs and timeline for implementation for the alternative safety compliance program to new and existing vessels.

By attempting to measure vessel classification costs for larger fishing vessels 80-190 feet through a study conducted by the Government Accountability Office, the Harvesters hope Congress obtains the results it needs within one year to demonstrate that classification requirements impose significant burdens without increasing the safety of larger vessels within the commercial fishing industry.

We are disappointed that H.R. 4188 did not extend an existing permanent discharge exemption granted for recreational vessels to commercial fishing vessels so the industry can continue to have certainty in our fishing businesses. The Harvesters look forward to working with Congress to protect not only the aquatic environment, but also the commercial fishing industry throughout the United States that depends on clean water for its livelihood.

Small, family owned businesses are the hallmark of commercial fishing. These hard working fishermen now have some reassurances they need to continue to provide for their families while keeping them safe. However, more work needs to be done in order to develop solutions for our larger vessels, the alternative safety compliance program and a permanent solution to vessel incidental discharges.

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Seafood Harvesters of America (“Harvesters”) is an umbrella association representing 17 commercial fishing organizations from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico north to New England. For more information, please visit seafoodharvesters.org or contact (314) 276-1062.

Stand with the Magnuson-Stevens Act

January 13, 2016 - Published in News Clippings

This year, the Seafood Harvesters of America are proud to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Magnuson-Stevens Act by urging Congress to continue supporting this landmark legislation. The Magnuson-Stevens Act is working and significant reforms are unnecessary. Our ad in the current issue of National Fisherman says it best. Congress, stand with what works. Stand with commercial fishermen and the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

 

magnusonstevens_nationalfisherman

Published in the February 2016 edition of National Fisherman.

Seafood Harvesters Praise Senate for Passing Port State Measures Agreement Implementing Legislation

October 23, 2015 - Published in News Releases

Seafood Harvesters Praise Senate for Passing Port State Measures Agreement Implementing Legislation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 23, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Seafood Harvesters of America issued the following statement on the passage of H.R. 774, the “Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing Enforcement Act of 2015” in the United States Senate:

(more…)

Cordova District Fishermen United Joins the Seafood Harvesters of America

September 14, 2015 - Published in News Clippings

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DATE: September 14, 2015

Cordova District Fishermen United Joins the Seafood Harvesters of America

Alaska Group and DC Organization Unite to Amplify Commercial Fishermen’s Voices

Washington, DC – The Seafood Harvesters of America, an association now representing 17 commercial fishing organizations coast-to-coast, is excited to welcome their newest member, Cordova District Fishermen United (CDFU). A multi-gear organization, CDFU is a non-profit that plays an integral role in the preservation, promotion, and protection of commercial fishing in Alaska.

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Harvesters Statement on the Passing of Vice President John Schmidt

September 10, 2015 - Published in News Clippings

The Seafood Harvesters of America wish to extend our deepest condolences to the family of John Schmidt, who suddenly passed away on Monday. A devoted family man and a life-long commercial fisherman, John served our organization as Vice President, and as a Board member of the Gulf Fishermen’s Association. John was a founding member of the Harvesters, and was involved with the establishment of the organization.

Years ago, John turned his passion for fishing into a successful career – leading a thirteen-crew fishing business that catches grouper and red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico. For John, fishing was more than a job. He had a strong passion to provide Americans with genuine, sustainable American seafood.

John’s role at the Harvesters allowed him to speak on behalf of commercial fishermen on issues such as accountability, stewardship, cooperation and the importance of maintaining access to the 97% of Americans who rely on commercial fishermen for their seafood. He was, undoubtedly, a dedicated and tireless voice for our organization. Today, we offer our thoughts, prayers, and enduring gratitude to everyone who knew and loved him.

His obituary can be found here: http://www.obitsforlife.com/obituary/1162702/Schmidt-John.php

 

John Schmidt

 

Letter to President Obama

September 1, 2015 - Published in News Clippings

Ahead of President Obama’s three-day trip to Alaska, Executive Director, Brett Veerhusen, sent a letter to the Administration on behalf of the Harvesters. Brett commended the President for sitting down with commercial fishermen during the trip, and urged Mr. Obama to address the important issues affecting commercial fishermen around the country. You can view the letter here.

 

August 31, 2015

The Honorable Barack Obama
President
The United States of America
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20006

Dear Mr. President,

The Seafood Harvesters of America (the Harvesters) represents 17 commercial fishing organizations from Alaska, to the Gulf of Mexico and New England. As its Executive Director, a life-long Alaskan fisherman, Bristol Bay fisherman, and the son of a man who has fished for 45 years in Alaskan waters, I welcome you to this great state.

The Harvesters applauds you for choosing to sit down with real, everyday Alaskan commercial fishermen who nobly harvest an American public resource. We urge you to take this opportunity to speak to the issues of importance that are essential to the livelihoods of commercial fishermen in Alaska and the nation.

We are writing to ask that you use your trip to Alaska, and your meeting with commercial fishermen in Bristol Bay, to send a strong message about how the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) is working for this nation. Alaskans have demonstrated the audacity to succeed in the presence of all the uncertainties associated with climate change. We do so as an industry shielded by a strong MSA, which guides a public, science-based decision-making process.

The Harvesters agree with your Administration that the MSA reauthorization needs minimal changes. While we are amenable to some minor changes, we are calling on lawmakers and your Administration to keep the MSA largely intact. Mr. President, one of our biggest concerns is legislative attempts to allow individual states to takeover species management in federal waters, which would set a dangerous precedent that could unravel the responsible management of America’s fisheries. Thank you for your tireless support of this time – and climate – tested document. U.S. fishery management is a beacon of prosperity within global fisheries.

The global economic environment that our products compete in is now protected through the establishment of your Task Force to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. By importing seafood, the U.S. imports the ethics and ethos of the country of origin’s fishing practices. As a world leader in sustainable fishery management, American consumers demand our imported seafood to be of the same ethics and ethos that American fishermen harvest. We commend the Task Force for recognizing sustainable fisheries as an enormous benefit to ocean stakeholders.

Additionally, we ask that the Seafood Harvesters of America have a seat at the table in future discussions regarding marine monuments and protected areas. It is critically important that these initiatives are locally driven and focus on best available science rather than politics. We look forward to working with your Administration to ensure that we protect our delicate ocean resources and our American fishing economy into the future.

Millions of people – grocery patrons, restaurant owners, and consumers nationwide – rely on commercial fisheries to help get their dinner from ocean to plate. In 2012 alone, Americans consumed 4.5 billion pounds of seafood, which added 1.3 million direct and indirect jobs to our nation’s economy. Seafood Harvesters of America is the voice for our country’s 190-foot trawlers as well as the 30-foot hook and line fishermen and are working hard to ensure the food security of our great nation remains sustainable and thriving.

With the support of your Administration and policy makers in Washington D.C., salmon, crab, pollock and snapper – to name just a few – will remain part of a complete American dinner.

Sincerely,

Brett Veerhusen
Executive Director
Seafood Harvesters of America

 

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