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Fight to Stop Privatization of US Fisheries Continues

04 April 2014

US - In the face of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) request for increased spending of $2,000,000 to develop and implement new catch share – or Individual Fishing Quota – programmes, a bipartisan group of 22 Members of Congress have made a stand for the nation’s small-scale fishermen.

Last week, the Members, led by Representative Steve Southerland, sent a letter to the House Committee on Appropriations requesting there be no funding allocated for new catch share programmes in the FY2015 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriation bill, reports FoodandWaterWatch.

Catch shares are a way of distributing portions of the total catch limits in a fishery to individual fishermen, in a way that is often grossly unfair. Catch shares cause significant unemployment and financial hardship among the US's traditional small fishermen and their communities.

Preventing NOAA from wasting money on new catch share programmes is an important step in stopping these privatisation schemes that often results in leaving the nation’s fish, one of our most precious natural resources, in the hands of a small number of larger operations.

Small-scale fishing businesses face many threats to their survival. In addition to the continuing push for catch shares, they also face the ongoing threat from a flood of imported fish products from abroad. Coupling NOAA’s pursuit of catch shares with the continuing push for new “free trade” agreements means the livelihood of these businesses and the communities that depend on them is under threat.

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