Friday, December 16, 2005

MSA reauthorization news; It passed, the committee anyway

With the Senate committee giving the Act and it's revisions it's stamp of approval yesterday, the fun begins. I don't think wishy-washy language is going to get very far this time around. There are just too many people on their lap-tops watching the reauthorization process anymore.

Even in the way the Act is written this time, the Council process itself will be a lot more transparent. Notably transparent will be the economic interests of the individual council members as pertains to business at hand.

But of concern to fishermen and communities is some language that enables something called regional fisheries associations. What in tar are these? That couldn't have possibly been Alaska's Sen. Stevens idea. Alaska is starting up Regional Seafood Development Associations that are made up of fishermen. These fishermen have limited entry permits and quota shares. The model is taken after all the associations of primary producers in the U.S. See if you can make sense out of this excerpt:

"Establishes national guidelines for Limited Access Privilege Programs (LAPPs) for the harvesting of fish. The LAPPs include Individual Fishing Quotas (IFQs), and are expanded to allow for allocation of harvesting privileges to fishing communities or regional fishery associations.
Only fisheries that have been operating under a limited access program for at least a year would be eligible for consideration for a LAPP. All LAPPs would be developed by the Councils and be subject to review by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary).
Does not provide for the establishment of a separate Processor Quota, but processors would be eligible to hold LAPPs to harvest fish, pursuant to current law, and any decision to allocate privileges to processors would be made in the Council's normal allocation decision making process.
Provides for a five-year administrative review of each program's compliance with the goals of the program and the MSA. "

If there is a model of a Regional Fisheries Association somewhere that is different than what Alaska is doing and is making everyone in the industry in that region just plain stinking rich, then I'd sure like to see it. And the RSDAs in Alaska don't need a special priviledge, a separate quota of the public resource. Fishermen need to be able to jump the RSDA ship they are on, if the RSDA doesn't perform, and start a new one that will. That's the beauty of free enterprise.

So, again, how does a RFA differ from a RSDA? Is the RFA wording a smokescreen? It is a suggestion for other parts of the U.S. to look at the model in Alaska, the RSDAs. If that's the case, the other parts of the country will see some good things happening soon enough. The RSDA for Southeast Alaska, Southeast Alaska Rainforest Wild, held their 1st annual meeting yesterday and are off to the races.They are starting to do things that government, industry, community elders or anyone, has only dreamed about. They are off to duplicate the success of the California Wine Growers Association or Florida Citrus Mutual.


Post a Comment

<< Home