National Fisherman


The head of the NOAA-affiliated New England Fishery Management Council has told NOAA Northeast Regional administrator John Bullard than the panel stands opposed to Bullard's call for fishermen venturing into newly opened areas off Cape Cod and Nantuck to bear the full cost of NOAA-mandated on-board monitors for any such trips.

In a letter dated July 26, Council Chairman C.M. "Rip" Cunningham told Bullard that the monitoring cost requirement may prevent virtually any fishermen from participating in the program.

He notes that as a result of the fragile economic state of many participants, the increased costs to fund observers may not be affordable. He also noted that little, if any, justification for this requirement was provided other than two general statements which the Council did not find convincing.

"Little, if any, justification is provided other than general statements that without higher coverage rates, 'discard rates would be difficult to estimate because there is little catch history in these areas' and the higher coverage would 'allow (the National Marine Fisheries Service) to monitor whether vessels are interacting with protected species,'" Cunningham wrote. "Neither argument is convincing ..."

The letter follows a July 10 announcement in which Bullard, essentially saying he and the agency want to provide relief to fishermen dealing with a federally declared "economic disaster" and 2013 fishing year cuts of up to 78 percent in their landing limits, formally launched proposals to open portions of previously closed fishing areas.

NOAA spokeswoman Maggie Mooney-Seus — based, like Bullard, at NOAA's Northeast regional headquarters in Gloucester's Blackburn Industrial Park — indicated that the areas to opened would includes parts — but not all — of Areas I and II and the Nantucket Light Ship area. Mooney-Seus also noted that the change would primarily provide a boost only to the larger trawlers due to the distance to the grounds from Cape Ann; it would not be expected to help the smaller, independent day boats that make up Gloucester's remaining but shrinking groundfishing fleet.

Read the full story at the Gloucester Daily Times>>

Inside the Industry

The American Fisheries Society is honoring recently retired Florida Institute of Oceanography director Bill Hogarth with the Carl R. Sullivan Fishery Conservation Award — one of the nation's premier awards in fisheries science - in recognition of his long career and leadership in preserving some of the world's most threatened species, advocating for environmental protections and leading Florida's scientific response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

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