National Fisherman


The Rudderpost 

jesJes Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman magazine and NationalFisherman.com.

 

For too long now, New England groundfish stocks have been the poster child for increasingly punitive management tactics.

At long last, an independent review of the management process in the Northeast and the data upon which fishery policy is based has raised important questions about the quality of the scientific data, as well as monitoring and enforcement methods.

The review simply says what fishermen have said for years: The system is not set up with the industry in mind. The impetus is to react immediately to save the fish from a perceived doomsday at any and all costs, but data collection does not allow for timely stock assessments.

Who takes the hit in this scenario? Fishermen.

The retort to this sentiment is often that fishermen don't care if they catch the last fish; they just want to make money. That may be true of some fishermen, but I haven't met any of them yet. The fishermen I talk to want to pass their fishery to their kids. But they don't want to pass on the stress and worry of barely making boat payments because they're not allowed to leave the dock or can hardly manage the amount of paperwork required to rig a net.

We ought to be doing our best to maintain healthy stocks, but we must balance that with reason and an eye to the future of the industry.

There is a balance to be struck here, but we are still far too skewed toward a mythical vision of abundance for all stocks. As long as there are any fish in the sea, some stocks will be up while others are down.

It is clear that we have a remarkable system that is working to establish and maintain healthy stocks. We ought to be proud of that.

But I also hope that one day we can be proud of our robust working waterfronts and fishing fleets from coast to coast.

Read a PDF of the review requested by John Pappalardo, chairman of the New England Fishery Management Council, and Eric Schwaab, NMFS director.

Inside the Industry

NOAA recently published a proposed rule that would implement a traceability plan to help combat IUU fishing. The program would seek to trace the origins of imported seafood by setting up reporting and filing procedures for products entering the U.S.

The traceability program would collect data on harvest, landing, and chain of custody of fish and fish products that have been identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and fraud.

Read more...

The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:

The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.

Read more...
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