Hundreds of fishermen gathered on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to protest regulations that they say hurt their businesses and livelihoods.
At issue are catch limits and species protections imposed under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Many fishermen say that the restrictions issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration make it hard for them to make a living on the high seas.
Commercial and recreational fishermen from across the country gathered in the Upper Senate Park and heard messages of support from coastal-state lawmakers.
Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., talks with fishermen concerned about regulations issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association before the “Keep Fishermen Fishing” rally in Upper Senate Park on Wednesday.(Julia Edwards)
Keith Mason (left) and Carroll Diggs (right) are commercial fishermen for Omega Protein. “We’re here for jobs,” Mason said.(Julia Edwards)
A woman holds a sign for North Carolina Watermen United, a group that has lobbied Congress to ease restrictions on fishing.(Julia Edwards)
Fishermen replace their hats after a moment of silence. The audience was asked to reflect on three things: the troops, those lost at sea, and “the one who gives us fish.”(Julia Edwards)
Joe Lewis (left) and Curtis Marshall (right) came from Camden, N.J., to protest the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which they say is preventing them from fishing sea bass. As Lewis pointed out, fishermen are good for the economies of coastal towns. “They feed a larger economy; not all fishermen live at the coast,” he said.(Julia Edwards)
Jim Guelich, a recreational fisherman from New Jersey, asks Congress: “Show me the science” behind fishing restrictions for the sake of protecting populations. “We want the scientific community to have an input. We can’t rely on a random sampling,” he said.(Julia Edwards)
Jeanna Merrifield (left) and Janet Olson (right) of Port Canaveral, Fla., say that the Magnuson-Stevens Act forces them to import foreign fish to run their seafood business. Merrifield says she has come to talk to Florida's congressional delegation three or four times before. “The fishermen are exhausted,” Merrifeld said.(Julia Edwards)
Sen. John Kerry speaks to a group of fisherman on Wednesday, March 21, 2012. (Chet Susslin)
Sen. Scott Brown holds up a photo of a fishing boat owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (Chet Susslin)
Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., speaks to his constituents in the fishing community. (Chet Susslin)
Fishermen hold up signs as Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., speaks. (Chet Susslin)
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks to a crowd of fishermen at the Upper Senate Park. (Chet Susslin)
Shawn Dochtermann from Kodiak, Alaska, holds a sign for the Alaskan crabbers at the rally. (Chet Susslin)
Rep. Allen West puts his hand on Jacob Glantzman, 11, from Wall, N.J. (Chet Susslin)