Wespac Calls for Direct Compensation to ‘Longline Fishery Participants’

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On December 1, Western Pacific Fishery Management Council chair Ed Ebisui, Jr., and executive director Kitty Simonds sent a letter to President Barack Obama advocating for direct compensation to Hawaii longline fishery participants impacted by the expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

“Compensation would lessen the impact on fishery participants who may need to increase the size of their vessel or purchase more fuel and supplies to make longer fishing trips to high seas fishing grounds. Hawaii longline owners may also find the need to upgrade their vessels so they can compete more efficiently with fleets from Japan, China, Taiwan, and Korea. Compensation would also help fishermen who want to leave the fishery and train for other livelihoods,” the letter states.

As Environment Hawai`i reported in its November issue, Seth Hostmeyer, director of the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Global Ocean Legacy has argued that federal compensation for these fishers may be “hard to get when you’re paying your crew 70 cents an hour or wages certainly below minimum wage,” referring to a recent Associated Press report on poor working conditions suffered by some of the Hawaii longline fleet’s foreign crew. Paying crews the federal minimum wage might cost more than whatever additional fuel might be required as a result of the monument expansion, he said.

To read the full letter, click here.

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