Jes Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman magazine and NationalFisherman.com.
Written by Jes Hathaway
Thursday, 14 March 2013
This week marks the beginning of what promises to be a long process toward reauthorizing the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, which expires at the end of the 2013 fiscal year.
Already, we have seen infighting between Massachusetts lawmakers Reps. Ed Markey and John Tierney.
Markey mistakenly believes Magnuson is flexible enough because it allows fishing fleets and communities to be eligible for disaster declarations (this eligibility is of course no guarantee of actual aid, as we've seen for fisheries across the country during this time of excruciating political retardation).
And as far as the Northeast groundfish fleet is concerned, fishermen don't want or need simple handouts (though I am sure they would not be cast aside). What these fleets need is a hope that when the stocks decide the conditions are right to thrive again, the fishing infrastructure will be there to service the industry.
The primary problem in New England is that codfish are not responding to the 10-year rebuilding timeline, despite the fact that fishermen have been catching them under increasingly restrictive management for the last two decades (to the point of strangulation for most small boat owners).
Even some who praised catch limits for the 2006 reauthorization, like Cape Cod Hook Fishermen's Association CEO John Pappalardo, now concede that they are an ineffective tool without annual stock assessments.
But the process of reauthorizing Magnuson will also attempt to incorporate the concerns and challenges of fisheries across the country. As House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) said yesterday during his opening statement:
"The Secretary of Commerce declared seven fisheries disasters in 2012 and several more have been requested. New England is facing severe cuts in the quotas for important fisheries. The Gulf of Mexico is facing severely restrictive fishing seasons for recreational fishermen. The Pacific Northwest is seeing management and data collection costs growing with an ever increasing burden falling on fishermen. All of these fisheries and all of these regions need economic stability."
Put on your seatbelts, folks. It's going to be a bumpy ride.
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...