Beto for America
Friday, October 4, 2019

Beto Releases Plan to Guarantee Long-term Survival and Vitality For Our Nation’s Fisheries the digital video highlighting Beto’s visit with the New England Fishmongers

MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Today, Beto O’Rourke released a fisheries policy to address an aquaculture industry in the United States that accounts for $5.4 billion in total value, tens of thousands of jobs in New England, and 9.9 billion pounds of fish and shellfish in 2017. This new policy comes after Beto joined Captain Tim Rider and Kayla Cox to learn more about their small commercial fishing business, New England Fishmongers, off the Seacoast of New Hampshire and Maine in early September. He boarded one of the company’s two vessels, the Finlander, to hear from the crew about the struggles they’ve faced trying to stay in business in the fishing industry due to big business, climate concerns, trade policy, and infrastructural challenges.

Climate change continues to threaten the sustainability and availability of fish. Key fish stocks — like North Atlantic Cod — have hit their lowest levels ever recorded in recent years. The cost of bait continues to hurt fisheries’ bottom line, and alternatives remain limited due to a lack of investment in research and development. Large, well-financed fisheries continue to buy up some of the country’s largest fisheries and dominate the small boat nature of the industry. And Trump’s trade war continues to squeeze fishermen — lobstermen in particularly — and threaten their livelihood. Beto understands these unique challenges and as President, intends to directly confront them and support our nation’s fishermen.

“For so many independent fishmongers, it feels like the American Dream is being taken away from them. That’s not going to change on its own and it certainly won’t change if we don’t wake the rest of the country up to this threat that’s caused by a number of different challenges that the federal government can step in and fix,” said Mike Ollen, New Hampshire State Director. “It’s on all of us to show up for people like Tim and Kayla, and make sure that, after a hard day’s work, they don’t have to be concerned about their livelihood.”

“Beto is the only candidate for president that I have ever seen take interest in this industry, our way of life, and the need to protect it for small businesses like mine,” said Captain Tim Rider, owner and co-manager of the New England Fishmongers. “What I saw from him was his genuine curiosity, his willingness to listen, and how much he understood about what we are currently up against. We need someone like that in the White House who understands and listens to small businesses, and this policy proposal speaks to how much he took away from our experience. Beto showed up for us, and we’ll never forget that.”

To confront these challenges, Beto’s plan to support American fishermen includes five key components:

End the trade war with China

  • On day one in office, Beto will end the trade war with China by eliminating the Trump tariffs, helping fishermen — especially lobstermen — access overseas markets.

Halt Offshore Drilling

  • The Trump Administration has sought to expand offshore oil drilling to the detriment of the fishing industry. Beto has called on Congress to pass the Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act, halting any new development along the Atlantic Coast.
  • On Day One of his presidency, Beto will issue an executive order to ban any new fossil fuel leases on federal lands and any new drilling offshore.

Invest in Infrastructure and Innovation

  • Beto will double funding from $3.36 million to $6.72 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Small Business Innovation Research Program to help small businesses research and develop alternative bait methods.
  • He will increase the government’s share in funding for the public-private Fisheries Innovation Fund, as well as ensure that NOAA's Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant Program is continually funded to guarantee sustainable fisheries and increase other opportunities to keep working waterfronts viable.

Advance Climate Research into Our Oceans

  • Beto will advance data collection in our nation’s oceans, pushing 20 percent of a $250 billion-plus investment toward the climate science needed to understand the changes to our oceans and our atmosphere.
  • He will continue to implement NOAA’s Fisheries Climate Science Strategy and guarantee continued funding for NOAA’s Electronic Monitoring and Reporting Grant Program to integrate technology into fisheries data collection and ensure that the federal government and local fishermen are on the same page in regards to what’s occurring in our oceans.

Protecting the small boat nature of the industry

  • To guarantee the survival of small boat fisheries and to prevent market concentration from increasing consumer prices, Beto would ask the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission to review the purchases of some of the largest fisheries in the northeast by hedge-fund managed fisheries and evaluate their impact on the market.