• June 19, 2024

Proud New England Fisherman Have Been Forced To Take On The Biden Admin…

 Proud New England Fisherman Have Been Forced To Take On The Biden Admin…

New England fishermen hope to catch a victory this year at the nation’s highest court in a case over government overreach, a decision they believe will determine the fate of America’s oldest industry.

In two cases at the Supreme Court this week, fishermen contend that it is a Constitutional violation for them to be mandated to pay government officials to join their fishing voyages as human monitors under a regulation by the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“It was like $780 a day for a monitor,” Jerry Leeman, a longtime Maine fisherman, told The Daily Wire outside the Supreme Court. “I can’t even afford sometimes to pay my crew $780 a day, but we’re paying monitors.”

Leeman, who is from Harpswell, Maine, and founded the New England Fishermen’s Stewardship Association, said that the crew is also expected to pay for the food for monitors who he believes aren’t sufficiently trained for the dangerous job he does for a living.

“These guys are the ones that are fresh out of college,” Leeman said. “They got a couple of weeks of training online, and then they were brought out to sea with me, where I was responsible for keeping their safety.”

He recounted a time when his boat was knocked almost on its side during a storm, stating that if his crew had to abandon ship, he worried about having “to go down into the vessel to go after a child who’s having a panic attack.”
Rob Odlin, a fifth-generation fisherman from Skyborough, Maint, Odlin recalled a time when a monitor on his boat put a dead bird in the same freezer as their personal food at a time when bird flu was on the rise.

“I just couldn’t believe myself,” he said. “I was like, what are you doing? Get that away from my steak. That’s not the proper place to store that.”

The program, put in place under President Donald Trump in 2020, intended to bring monitors on 50 percent of herring fishing trips to ensure environmental regulations are followed. Fishermen were refunded and the program was halted in April 2023 due to a lack of funding, CBS News reported.

Leeman, Odlin, and John Borden traveled to Washington, D.C. to support their fellow fishermen in the cases Relentless Inc. v. U.S. Dept. of Commerce and Loper Bright v. Raimondo. The cases push to overturn a 1984 landmark ruling that resulted in the “Chevron deference,” which allows courts to defer to federal agencies to interpret ambiguous laws.

If the fishermen lose the case, they say their industry will be left floundering, leading to the importation of more foreign seafood.

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