Could fisheries policy change under Trump and Commerce Secretary Ross?

Since January, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the nation’s fishery regulators, has offered hints that changes to U.S. fishery policy might be in store.

A formal fisheries policy has yet to emerge, and these are, of course, still early days for the Trump Administration. But some observers read in Ross’s recent statements a potential desire to increase fishing.

During the campaign, Trump railed repeatedly against the United States’ trade deficit. And Ross, during his Senate confirmation in January, expressed a wish to reverse the nation’s seafood trade deficit – a tall task given that the U.S. imports 90 percent of the seafood eaten here and has a USD 11 billion (EUR 10.3 billion) seafood trade deficit.

“Given the enormity of our coastlines, given the enormity of our freshwater, I would like to try to figure out how we can become much more self-sufficient in fishing and perhaps even a net exporter,” he said at his confirmation hearing in January, according to Politico.

Then, during his first address to the department’s 47,000 employees, on 1 March, he listed a key challenge for the department of “obtaining maximum sustainable yield.” It was his only reference to the nation’s fisheries during the short speech.

"The Secretary's remarks reflect the importance our nation's marine and coastal fisheries resources, and his commitment to ensuring these resources are sustainable for generations to come," John Ewald, a spokesman for NOAA Fisheries, told SeafoodSource in an email.

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