Rhode Island Fisheries Issues

Since July 2010, I have had the privilege to serve as the Rhode Island Legislative Commissioner on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission . I attended the ASMFC Summer meeting in Alexandria in July, Virginia and the 70th Annual meeting in Boston in November.

During the 2010 legislative session, I was able to introduce and get passed, two bills that were created to help the Rhode Island fisheries.

The following article by the Jamestown Press highlights these two bills.

Governor signs three bills to bolster fishing trade
Jamestown Press

Three bills approved by the General Assembly this year to assist the fishing trade were signed into law recently in a ceremony held at Salty Brine State Beach in Galilee, the center of the Ocean State's fishing industry.

The bills are designed to give a marketing boost to local fishermen and small businesses [H6259] ; to discourage poaching of striped bass; and to clarify licensing requirements for commercial rod-and-reel fishing boats [H6205B].

The first bill signed today by Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee creates the Rhode Island Seafood Marketing Collaborative, the purpose of which is to support local fishermen and small businesses and to encourage Rhode Islanders to use locally produced and harvested seafood. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Peter Martin and Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski.

"People would be surprised to learn that most fish caught in Rhode Island is shipped out of state and is not sold in local markets or restaurants," said Sosnowski, chairwoman of the Special Senate Task Force on Fisheries. "The Seafood Marketing Collaborative will research ways to change that. It will support and work closely with the Rhode Island fishing community to promote the marketing of local seafood."

Said Martin, "The seafood collaborative will bring all stakeholders to the table to preserve, protect and promote the local seafood industry. This group will work to eliminate any barriers that currently prevent the seafood industry from thriving locally."

The governor also signed legislation that strengthened the penalties for those who catch more than the legal limit on striped bass or try to bag those that are too small. The move brings the striper penalties in line with those for violating other game limits, and is aimed at preventing poachers from skirting limits for their own profit at the peril of the striper population.

Click here to see the Jamestown Press

Click here to see the House Bill 6259 to establish the Rhode Island Seafood Colaborative
Click here to see the House Bill 6205B which would permit an unlicensed crew to may assist in direct commercial operations for commercial fisheries as long as the crew is supervised by a properly licensed individual in command of a commercially declared vessel.