Mayor Mitchell Brings Fishing Community Concerns To Congress

New Bedford, Massachusetts – On Wednesday, March 15, 2017, at 10:00 a.m., Mayor Jon Mitchell of New Bedford will testify at a congressional oversight hearing titled “Examining the Creation and Management of Marine Monuments and Sanctuaries.”

Mayor Mitchell will represent the Port of New Bedford and the National Coalition for Fishing Communities before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Water, Power, and Oceans. Mitchell will present the concerns of port communities across the nation regarding the federal government’s approach to marine monument designations under the Antiquities Act.

The Port of New Bedford is America’s top-grossing commercial fishing port for the past sixteen years. The Port generates $9 billion in economic activity annually and employs 6,000 workers.

The National Coalition for Fishing Communities is a voice for communities nationwide that depend on commercial fishing. The Coalition works to ensure policy-makers and the public hear directly from those whose lives and livelihoods are affected by commercial fishing policy and regulation. As the nation’s number one fishing port, New Bedford has played a leadership role in the Coalition and provided the seed funds which enabled the Coalition’s creation. Today the Coalition is comprised of dozens of fishing businesses and organizations in port communities across country, from New England, to the Gulf of Mexico, to California, to Hawaii.

Mayor Mitchell explained his interest in the House Committee’s work on marine monuments: “Presidential marine monument designations under the federal Antiquities Act have become a major cause of concern in fishing communities. The nation’s fisheries have been managed for forty years under the federal Magnuson Act, so the recent increased use of Antiquities Act in ways that impact fisheries has understandably generated concern. Now is a good time to pause, step back, and have a healthy public discussion about how these two laws ought to be working.”

Mitchell added, “Congress has an important role to play because it has the final authority on how the two federal laws should work. My hope is that Congress will explore ways for Antiquities Act to work more in concert with the Magnuson Act, rather than as a parallel decision-making process. I look forward to the opportunity to add my perspective to the healthy public discussion that’s already underway in our nation’s capital.”

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UPDATE: As a consequence of yesterday’s snowstorm, morning flights to D.C. from our area have been cancelled for today. Mayor Mitchell’s testimony is being submitted to the committee in writing as he will be unable to deliver remarks in person. The hearing will otherwise go forward as planned and the Mayor’s leadership on behalf of the National Coalition for Fishing Communities and the Port of New Bedford are still expected to be featured at today’s hearing. The hearing will be live streamed here: beginning at 10AM.