PORTSMOUTH — The New Hampshire Fisheries Sectors and The Nature Conservancy today announced an innovative new partnership that seeks to improve fisheries in the Gulf of Maine and sustain New Hampshire’s struggling ground fishing fleet.
The two organizations recently worked together to complete the purchase of two groundfish permits by the conservancy. The allowable catch, or “quota,” associated with the permits will be made available to New Hampshire fishermen, many of whom are struggling under a new fisheries management system and significant reductions in the availability of prized species like cod.
The purchase of the New Hampshire permits builds upon the successful Community Permit Bank initiative begun in Port Clyde, Maine in 2009. Through this program, the conservancy leases the quota to fishermen at favorable rates, and underwrites research that provides scientists, fishing communities and managers important information on practices and gear configurations that will minimize bycatch and reduce impacts on sensitive marine habitats. Through the partnership announced today, the conservancy and local fishermen hope to bring this successful model to New Hampshire.
“Both The Nature Conservancy and our fishing industry partners are committed to rebuilding groundfish populations in the Gulf of Maine,” said Geoff Smith, Gulf of Maine program director at the Nature Conservancy. “Our experience has shown that working directly with fishermen developing more selective gear and sustainable fishing practices gives us the best chance for success.”
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