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Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 10, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. YOUNG. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of S. 906, the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act. I would like to start out by thanking Senators Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, Dianne Feinstein, and Shelley Capito, along with Congressman Ted Lieu, and everyone who was involved in this legislation. Their passion for our fisheries is truly admirable.

This bill includes a Recreational Quota Entity (RQE) provision that is crucial to the charter fishing industry. Under the provision, an RQE would be allowed to purchase and hold a limited amount of halibut quota shares to augment the amount of halibut available to charters. For years, charter anglers have faced stringent restrictions as catch limits have been reduced and this provision would allow fishing charters to compete on a larger scale.

Charter fishing in Alaska is world renown and is a driving force for tourism in many towns. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to spend a day in Seward this past summer meeting with halibut charters and hearing directly from the people in the industry. I'd also note we had a great time catching some Alaska fish.

While this bill may not be perfect, I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this bipartisan legislation because of the importance of the RQE provision to my home state of Alaska. This is a self-funding solution that will have a positive impact for the charter fishing industry.

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