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by
Bridget Johnson

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October 11, 2013 - 12:40 pm

begichfish

Senate Democrats hosted Deadliest Catch Captain Keith Colburn on the Hill today to say that he can’t go fishing because of the government shutdown.

Colburn was testifying at this afternoon’s Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the economic impacts of the government shutdown.

“This is the first time in my 28 years of fishing that I haven’t been in the Bering Sea in October getting ready to go fish,” Colburn said “Many fishermen and coastal communities are already facing tough times. This unnecessary shutdown may be the tipping point if the situation isn’t resolved soon… I’m a small businessman in a big ocean with big bills. I need to go fishing.”

The Bristol Bay red king crab season is scheduled to open Tuesday with a quota of 8.6 million pounds, worth $100 million, but since the NOAA biologists who issue needed permits are furloughed, fisheries cannot open, said Alaska Sen. Mark Begich (D).

“Alaska prides itself on its fishery management, and our fishermen and fishing communities depend on it. Without the important work that NOAA does, these fishermen can’t do their jobs,” said Begich. “The potential loss of millions of dollars for Alaska fishermen is one of many examples of economic uncertainty facing our country due to this unnecessary shutdown. I thank Capt. Colburn for coming to Washington to highlight the impact the shutdown is having on the economies of our fisheries.”

Begich also said the shutdown could prevent NOAA from doing its routine year-end reallocation of unused quota for cod and pollock and prevent biologists from analyzing data to set harvest levels for next year, resulting in more conservative quotas.

He stressed that if the crabbers miss the lucrative Asian holiday market, American seafood could be replaced with illegal Russian crab.

Other witnesses at the hearing included National Transportation Safety Board chairwoman Deborah A.P. Hersman and Aerospace Industries Association president and CEO Marion C. Blakey.

Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) released a report on the shutdown’s impacts at today’s hearing, including unsafe toys and car crashes. From the report:

  • With the holiday season just weeks away, consumers should be aware that the safety of children’s toys may not be guaranteed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). All CPSC port inspectors in the field have been furloughed, preventing the CPSC from screening products at ports of entry. CPSC port investigators annually screen thousands of product shipments and prevent millions of potentially dangerous product units from reaching store shelves – including children’s products containing excessive lead content and sleepwear that violates flammability standards.
  • The travelling public will have to wait longer for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to finish important safety and modernization updates. The FAA has halted the development, operational testing, and evaluation of technologies and safety standards for NextGen – the agency’s program to modernize the air traffic control system and make the National Airspace System safer and more efficient.
  • Services that are the lifeblood to small businesses are on hold, including those performed by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and they are having a serious impact on the economic livelihood of independent fishermen. The NMFS determines fishing quotas and permit approvals that are pre-requisites for the beginning of fishing seasons across the country. Furloughs of NMFS biologists who perform these functions threaten to delay and truncate the lucrative king crab fisheries season in Alaska and Washington. The season was set to start on October 15 and typically lasts between one to two months.
  • Investigations regularly performed by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are not occurring. When federal investigators are unable to examine transportation accidents, they are prevented from compiling information about mistakes that can contribute to making transportation systems safer. Moreover, the agencies have no way of completing routine investigations of crashes, including to inspect the recent Tesla Model S that experienced a battery fire on October 1.

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Let me get this straight. Its not that he can't literally go fishing, its that he can't legally go fishing unless he says mother may I and the Feds say yes. Before this shutdown I never realized how vital it was for the government to regulate anything that moves (or doesn't).
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Let the states take over all this stuff and keep the Feds out of everyone's hair. Then we can slash Fed taxes and more effectively finance and manage projects using people on the ground and close to the situation instead of some one-size-fits-all massive bureaucracy. It's been shown a lot of the stuff being shut down needs no Fed oversight anyway.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The shutdown isn't blocking his fishing. Political gamesmanship by the administration to make the shutdown look worse is blocking his fishing.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (40)
All Comments   (40)
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Go fish.
When the bureaucrat gets his retroactive pay, he can write the retroactive permit.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I've lived through several government shutdowns, and my life was not affected one iota...until now. Deadliest Catch is one of my favorite programs. The government not allowing these men to fish and film he shows has me outraged
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So he does not have permission to go fishing. The man who issues the permits is not at work. And if he goes fishing is there a man to catch him, and ask to see his permit? If yes, the government is playing dishonest games. If no, the fisherman could be in a boat. He does not have to go to Washington.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Another case of the Obamaites creating maximum hardship. If all that is required is the issue of permits, and the permits enable the jobs of thousands and millions of pounds of food into the market, why aren't the permit issuers jobs essential. Certainly more essential than tens of thousands of govt. work hours and millions of dollars worth of Obamacades to block off National parks.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You know why it was Cpt. Keith? Because the Hilstrands, the Hansons, Junior and the rest are all out fishing and d*** the consequences!

Well, I don't know about the rest, but the Hilstrands I could see out fishing. They're the ones who openly said on national TV that they illegally buried their dad on national park land and acknowledge it every time with fireworks going and coming.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Screw the statist buggers and go fishing! Are we know so cowed by The Feral Gov't that we cannot function without their largesse?

Pitiful, just pitiful.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So go fishing ! Who cares what Obamas SA says.Tough guy image is all BS eh Colburn!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"....... economic uncertainty facing our country due to this unnecessary shutdown".

Well Senator Blowhard, Democrat from Alaska, where is your concern for the economic slowdown across the entire nation caused by deficit creating fools like you (from both parties) and the Marxist Moron in the White House? Millions of folks in this country who are out of work because of political disasters like you aren't buying your Alaskan crabmeat when they can't afford Spam.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This is NOT the guy to flack for the lack of government operations and how it hurts his business.

He's master of an Uninspected fishing vessel, and speaking as a professional seaman with 25 years before the mast, I am constantly shocked and amazed at the risks that captains like this fellow put their crews to. And they've been doing this...on television...for the better part of 10 years! Is anyone in the USCG's Marine Safety Office watching this show?

Working a sea-swept deck in hypothermic conditions, and operating heavy machinery on very little sleep is a VERY GOOD way to get people maimed or killed. The rest of the maritime industry has realized this and accepted the need for common sense regulations that limit how much the guy operating the crane can be worked before allowing him to rest.
These fishermen are existing within a loophole in the regulations, and would likely fight like hell to keep from not being allowed to work their crewmen to death....and I mean that quite literally.

So now, here he is wailing for the cameras about the money he's losing in the shutdown?

As long as he isn't fishing, he won't be causing any injuries to his seamen that would have to be cared for by ObamaCare.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The only thing the CG does with those guys is fish bodies out of the drink. The Congressional delegations of both Washington and, unfortunately, Alaska are well paid to keep it that way.

Begich is carrying on about Alaska management of fisheries but the fisheries he's talking about, crab, pollock, cod, are almost entirely in the federal economic zone between 12 and 200 miles, not in Alaska waters. The only thing Alaskan about The Deadliet Catch bunch is they hang out in Alaska bars a bit during the season and you can buy their tee shirts here. Begich is trying to be all salty, but he's an Anchorage city boy and I doubt he's ever been on any boat other than some rich guy's luxobarge or the mega yacht of some billionaire taking in Alaska and thinking it's cool to have a US Senator aboard.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
" The Congressional delegations of both Washington and, unfortunately, Alaska are well paid to keep it that way."

And God bless them for it, you NeoConfederate facist. Up yours. When they have to shanghai people to fish for them, you'll have a point.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Is there any part of F*ck you you'd have trouble understanding?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
None at all. Since you've spoken well of the Confederacy and had the gall to claim it's "true conservatives" ruining the party, and that there is no GOP establishment and then gone on to explain how you're a part of it; right back at you.

Your sort not less than the Democrats is why we have 220 trillion in unfunded liabilities.

You pointed the F*ck you the wrong way, it's yours and Sununu's. And McCain's, and Romney's.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Good luck with a poltical party to your liking electing anybody other than a few House members from districts in the rural South and Intermountain West.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We'll probably see inside of ten years, won't we?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
And let us not forget that the entire reason that the Feds set limits on the fisheries in the first place was that if they didn't, these skippers, with the tacit approval of their shore side managers, would gleefully fish the resource into extinction.

Look at almost any fishery that isn't in some nation's protected EEZ and see what happens.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
They did fish the salmon to extinction in Southeast Alaska. Since Statehood we've rebuilt it with hatcheries, but the Alaska King Salmon of a century ago was a 60 to 100 pound fish, today you're lucky to find one over 30 pounds.

It pains me to agree with the greenies but the dumping of by-catch in the North Pacific and Bering Sea creates "dead zones" on the ocean floor where nothing can live. The rotting waste just sucks all the oxygen out of the water and nothing can live there.

Fishermen are just like farmers; they'll ruin the resource of you let them. It was easier to plow up and down the hill rather than across the hill so the farmer let his topsoil erode away. It was cheaper to just move west rather than add manure to the soil so the cotton farmer moved west. Fishermen are the same way; they won't do anything responsible unless forced to. I think we do a pretty good job of regulating the fisheries in Alaska waters though there's one Helluva lot of politics in it,especially between what goes to charter/sportsfishermen and what goes to the commercial guys. Outside the State waters, it is a clusterf*ck.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We need a new system, ObamaFish, that will guarantee to EVERY American that he/she can go fishing.
The private corporations that control fishing must understand that fishing is a RIGHT.
TunaExchanges could be the solution to the problem.


/sarc

//isn't it sad that I have to put a /sarc tag ?

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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