Former Rep. James Walsh (R-N.Y.) is among the members of the K&L Gates government affairs practice who this week notified Congress that they are advocating for a southeastern U.S. fishermen’s organization.
Walsh, a government affairs counselor with the firm's Washington office, served in the House from 1989 to 2009. He represents the South Atlantic Fishermen’s Association, along with Darrell Conner, James Sartucci and W. Dennis Stephens, who each hold the same title at the firm. K&L Gates analysts Yvette Wissmann and Dennis Potter are also working on the account.
According to congressional records, the firm is lobbying on matters related to fishery management programs, including fiscal 2012 appropriations issues. The firm received $10,000 from the fishermen’s group between April 1 and June 30 for its advocacy efforts.
The fishermen’s group and other organizations, including the Fishermen's Marketing Association, Fishing Vessel Owners' Association and Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance, wrote in a letter to Congress in March that catch share programs “have a proven track record of success in U.S. fisheries, maintaining or restoring fish stocks and providing high-wage jobs for fishermen and processing workers.”
Earlier this year, the fishermen’s group unsuccessfully pushed against the inclusion of language in the fiscal 2011 appropriations bill that prohibits funding for new fisheries catch shares programs along the Gulf of Mexico and U.S. eastern seaboard. The programs are used to limit the amount of fish that individuals, communities and associations can harvest.
Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), who advocated for the language, said in April that money for new catch share programs would put fishermen out of their jobs. Groups including the Recreational Fishing Alliance, Commercial Fishermen of America and Southeast Fisheries Association backed the language.
Walsh, who joined K&L Gates in 2009, didn’t have an immediate comment.
The former congressman, who served on the House Appropriations Committee, also is among a group of K&L Gates lobbyists who represent the Environmental Defense Action Fund on fishery management programs. The firm received $170,000 from the organization during the first half of 2011 for its lobbying work.