Jes Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman magazine and NationalFisherman.com.
Written by Adrianne Madden
Friday, 07 October 2011
Many Massachusetts politicians had strong reactions to NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco's testimony last week at a federal hearing in Boston.
During the testimony, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) chastised Lubchenco for apparently not answering questions directed at her as she repeatedly leaned over to consult with NMFS director Eric Schwaab.
New Bedford, Mass., Mayor Scott Lang has called again for President Obama to replace her as NOAA administrator. Gloucester, Mass., Mayor Carolyn Kirk posted a YouTube appeal for Lubchenco to meet with representatives of the city's fishing and port interests.
In March 2010, Lubchenco visited Gloucester and expressed support for the local and national fishing industry.
But Lubchenco's testimony that catch shares are working is in direct contradiction to her professed support of the fishing industry. NOAA's line, as Lubchenco testified, is that an increase in revenue means catch shares are working for fishermen as well as the fish stocks. However, last year Gloucester lost nearly 20 percent of its fleet to the regulatory restrictions of the catch shares program; overall, the New England industry lost hundreds of crew positions, and 20 percent of the fleet took in 80 percent of the revenue.
Simply put, catch shares are not working unless the fishermen and port infrastructure are operating.
Fishery management ought to seek a balance between keeping already reduced fleets afloat and maintaining sustainable populations of commercial species. Sacrificing one for the other simply makes no sense. It is not an act of attrition; it's an exercise in futility.
New England's groundfishermen have made significant headway by keeping their heads held high and their voices aloft. Permit banks, quota caps and port infrastructure are on the federal radar because fishermen have been vocal and their representatives have spread the word.
Calling for Lubchenco's ouster may be cathartic, but it will not solve the problems the New England fleets face. Success lies at the end of the long, slow march toward transparency at NOAA.
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...