Summary: H.R.2919 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to House amended, Part I (09/22/1992)

New England Groundfish Restoration Act of 1992 - Amends the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act to establish a New England Groundfish Restoration Program.

Requires the New England Fishery Management Council to submit to the Secretary of Commerce (the Secretary) an amendment to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (the Plan) that establishes conservation and management measures for New England groundfish designed to reduce fishing mortality to the extent necessary to eliminate overfishing of cod stocks not later than seven years after the effective date of the amendment and of haddock stocks not later than ten years after that effective date. Requires the Council to recommend to the Secretary a schedule of civil penalties, including fishing permit sanctions.

Requires the Secretary, if the Council does not submit an amendment to the Plan within a reasonable period of time, to prepare such an amendment and issue regulations as necessary for its implementation.

Requires such amendment to provide for the immediate suspension of fishing, within five days after receipt of a request from the Council, in areas where New England groundfish are spawning and areas where there are high concentrations of undersized New England groundfish. Sets forth notification requirements for affected fishermen if the amendment establishes a moratorium on the issuance of new permits authorizing participation in the New England groundfish fishery.

Directs the Secretary, simultaneously with the issuance of regulations implementing a Plan amendment, to issue a schedule of civil penalties for violations of this Act relating to the New England groundfish fishery. Requires the Secretary to publish in the Federal Register a statement explaining why any part of the Council recommendation is not included in such schedule.

Requires the Secretary, not later than one year after the effective date of the regulations implementing any Plan amendment, to review the actions taken by each State represented on the Council to implement the Plan amendment. Authorizes the Secretary to regulate fishing within State boundaries only if the Secretary complies with required exceptions to State jurisdiction.

Requires that all funds appropriated for FY 1993 through 1997 for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for: (1) information collection and analysis regarding New England stock depletion be used to carry out these provisions and certain research; and (2) National Marine Fisheries Service conservation and management operations regarding fisheries management programs, management of Georges Bank, be used to carry out amendments made by this Act.

Declares that: (1) the Council shall not be required to approve under the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act a rebuilding program for New England groundfish; (2) the Secretary of Commerce shall not be required to take any action under such Act to prepare a program for the rebuilding of cod, yellowtail flounder, and haddock stocks in the northwest Atlantic Ocean; and (3) the Council and the Secretary of Commerce shall not be required to perform any other act pursuant to their functions under such Act, based upon any failure, before the enactment of this Act, of them to perform their functions under that Act.

Requires the Secretary, not later than 12 months after the date of enactment of this Act, if requested by the Governor of a State represented on the Council, to enter into an agreement that authorizes the marine law enforcement of such State to perform duties of the Secretary relating to enforcement of the Plan. Requires such a agreement to provide, subject to appropriations, for reimbursement of the State for expenses incurred in detection and prosecution of violations of any fishery management plan and for sharing in the the disposition of fines, penalties, seizures, and forefeitures.

Directs the Commander of the First Coast Guard District to establish an informal fisheries enforcement working group to improve the overall compliance with and effectiveness of the regulations issued under the Plan.

Requires the Secretary to use amounts under this Act attributable to fines and penalties for violations of the Plan to enforce that Plan.

Authorizes the Sea Sampler Program for stationing individuals on New England groundfish fishing vessels to collect information for the conservation and management of fisheries managed under the Plan.

Authorizes the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary, to enter into an international fishery agreement with Canada for the conservation and management of fisheries of mutual concern in the northwest Atlantic Ocean, with particular emphasis on transboundary stocks of groundfish and ensuring the success of New England groundfish restoration efforts. Sets forth required contents of such an agreement. Requires the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary, to establish a consultative committee to assist in the development and implementation of a fishery agreement. Subjects such an agreement to congressional oversight of governing international fishery agreements. Requires the Secretary of State to annually report to the Congress describing the activities of the Secretary with respect to such agreement.

Directs the Secretary, not later than 12 months after the date of enactment of this Act, to establish a program for: (1) promoting development of commercial fisheries and markets for underutilized species of the northwest Atlantic Ocean; (2) developing alternative fishing opportunities to reduce fishing effort in the New England groundfish fishery; and (3) providing technical support and assistance to U.S. fishermen and fish processors to make participation in fisheries for such underutilized species economically viable. Authorizes the Secretary to award contracts, grants, and other financial assistance for activities under the program. Requires owners or operators of fishing vessels authorized to participate in the New England groundfish fishery to temporarily surrender that permit during the duration of the assistance. Provides for funding such program.

Directs the Council, in consultation with other appropriate Councils, to develop fishery management plans as soon as possible for any underutilized species of the northwest Atlantic Ocean that is not covered under such a plan, in order to prevent overfishing of that species. Set forth priorities.

Requires the Secretary to include the restoration of New England groundfish stock in developing a strategic plan for fisheries research.

Requires the Secretary to establish a research program at the Northeast Fisheries and Science Center of the National Marine Fisheries Service. Requires the program to include research into conservation gear engineering and technology, enhancing stocks through hatcheries and stock supplementation, and other appropriate activities.

Requires the Secretary, acting through the General Counsel of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to provide a detailed response to any written request from a Council for legal advice regarding whether a management measure or other regulation is consistent with this Act.