**As lead Democrat on Small Business Committee, Shaheen invites James Hayward, a fisherman and industry leader, and Dr. Josh Wiersma, a leader and expert in the New England fishing industry, to testify at today’s hearing**

**Witnesses deliver stark warning to Washington: “the end is near” for New Hampshire’s fishing industry if federal at-sea monitoring fees are maintained**

**Shaheen takes NH fishing industry concerns testimony straight to Secretary of Commerce at subsequent hearing** 

**Video of the hearing can be watched here and here**

[March 3, 2016 – Washington, DC – Senator Shaheen discusses challenges facing New Hampshire’s fishing industry with regional leaders.

From left to right: Dr. Joshua Wiersma, Manager, Northeast Fisheries, Environmental Defense Fund, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mr. James Hayward, President, XI Northeast Fisheries Sector, Inc., Portsmouth, NH and Dan Salerno, Manager, Northeast Fishery Sector 11 (NH)] 

A high-resolution of this photo is available here.

Washington, DC—Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the lead Democrat on the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, invited two prominent industry leaders in the New England fishing industry to testify at a committee hearing today. Through her leadership on the committee, Senator Shaheen was able to make New Hampshire’s struggling fishing industry a major focus of Thursday’s hearing. James Hayward and Dr. Joshua Wiersma both spoke to the enormous threat that new federal at-sea monitoring fees and existing catch limits pose to New Hampshire’s fishermen. As of the first of this month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is forcing New Hampshire fishermen to pay for an at-sea observer program, which monitors catch sizes for conservation purposes. The program, which was previously paid for by NOAA, will cost fishermen an estimated $700 per day on fishing trips.

“Fishing is an integral part of New Hampshire’s economy and heritage,” said Shaheen after the hearing. “Our struggling small-boat fleet needs relief from onerous federal regulations so New Hampshire’s fishermen can continue to make a living. Catch limits and at-sea monitoring fees threaten the very existence of our fishing industry. I’m very pleased that Mr. Hayward and Dr. Wiersma took the time to inform the Senate of their first-hand experience in our region’s fishing industry.”

During the hearing Mr. Hayward and Dr. Wiersma delivered a dire warning to the Senate.

Mr. Hayward: “Time is crucial and the road we’re headed down right now is not a good one. It’s pretty much the end is near and if things aren’t changed soon, at least to some extent, the fleets going to look a lot different in thirty six month. I can assure you of that.”

Shaheen: “Will we still have any fishing in New Hampshire if we don’t see some changes from NOAA?”

Mr. Hayward: “What will happen is the infrastructure will be gone and when that’s gone, the boats will leave. The ones that want to remain will be forced out because they will have no place to offload, market or sell.”

That interaction can be watched here.

At a separate hearing today on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Shaheen confronted the Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker with the testimony she had just heard from Mr. Hayward and Dr. Wiersma. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Their interaction can be watched here.

Background information on Senator Shaheen’s invited witnesses:

James Hayward, President of XI Northeast Fisheries Sector, Inc.

James Hayward is a second generation commercial fisherman. He is primarily a day boat gillnet fisherman operating in the Gulf of Maine ranging from 20 to 120 miles from port. He currently owns two fishing boats located in Portsmouth Harbor, New Hampshire. He owns and manages Heidi Seafood Services, the only federally licensed groundfish dealership at the State facility in Portsmouth Harbor.  He is president of the community’s groundfish sector, XI Northeast Fisheries Sector, Inc., as well as treasurer of New Hampshire community supported fisheries, New Hampshire Community Seafood.  He is also a board member of the Northeast Seafood Coalition and the Northeast Sector Services Network, and a member of the Seafood Harvesters of America.

Dr. Joshua Wiersma, Manager, Northeast Fisheries, Environmental Defense Fund

Dr. Wiersma has over 15 years of experience working with commercial fishermen in New England to improve their business conditions. His doctoral research, which examined the value of collaborative research to New England fishermen, led him to work directly for the ground fishing industry after graduation. Initially hired by the Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership as a Fisheries Economist, he then worked for the Northeast Seafood Coalition as their Sector Policy Analyst where he helped to create the twelve Northeast Fisheries Sectors. He went on to manage New Hampshire’s two ground fishing sectors for the next five years.  Over this time, he also co-founded and was the Executive Director of New Hampshire Community Seafood Association, a successful community supported fishery cooperative that offers fresh, local, underutilized fish to the New Hampshire public through a type of fish share model. He is now the Manager of Northeast Fisheries at Environmental Defense Fund, where he continues to work with fishermen to shape effective fisheries management, to improve fisheries science and data collection, and to develop better seafood markets and other business opportunities.