August 1, 2014
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch … Fishermen are set to get a break from nitpicky water discharge permits. More after this –
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Fishermen won’t need special permits to hose off their decks thanks to a bill moving through the US Senate.
Essentially, this Vessel Incidental Discharge Act extends a moratorium that was already grant to commercial fishing industry from 2008 and it’s been up every couple of years. It would extend this moratorium indefinitely so commercial fishing vessels don’t have to apply for a ridiculous discharge permit every time rain falls onto your deck and flows overboard. That’s incidental discharge to the normal operation of a vessel. So it just cuts the red tape that fishermen would have to incur. 3
Brett Veerhusen is director of Seafood Harvesters of America who has been watch dogging the discharge bill. It still has to get final approval from Congress, but with strong bipartisan support, he is confident it will make it through.
We really appreciate the bipartisan support that Sen. Begich and Rubio have been able to garner for this VIDA, it’s quite remarkable and it just shows that whether you’re in the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf of Maine or the Gulf of Alaska fishermen nationwide feel very strongly and appreciate the Senators’ work and hope that Sen. Begich takes this to the Senate floor for a vote.
The discharge bill is part of the Clean Boating Act passed by Congress in 2008. It provided a permanent exemption for roughly 13 million recreational vessels but not for commercial fishing boats or other vessels in the maritime industries. Veerhusen says it’s imperative that the discharge exemption be passed before it expires on December 18th.
We want to make sure that this Congress does not allow this moratorium to expire on Dec. 18 of this year.
After Dec 18 commercial fishing vessels will be subject to these permit requirements to test the water that runs off their deck from deck wash or rain. That is completely onerous and ridiculous and burdensome.
Seafood Harvesters of America formed in June and so far includes 14 regional fishing groups.
This is welcome news to folks on the Hill to have a succinct national voice regarding these issues. Traditionall fishermen have gone about trying to effect federal law from a regional voice standpoint and we are able to synthesize these voices into some common goals and concerns.
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. (www.oceanbeauty.com) In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.