Written by Jen Finn
The New England Fishery Management Council's monthly meeting, a three-day session that began Monday in Danvers, holds immense potential for creating important new guidelines for fishermen out of Gloucester and elsewhere to move forward.
Yet this council — a policy arm of NOAA that is supposed to bring the input of fishermen, federal government officials and the environmental community to the same table, yet too often fails the fishermen – could also bury small, largely independent fishing fleets such as Gloucester's once and for all.
But the means to avoiding that latter scenario are very basic. In considering its next moves regarding a revised groundfish stocks rebuilding plan, or any reconfiguring of open and closed areas with an eye toward sustaining the fisheries habitat, it's crucial that the council heed to the oft-ignored provisions of the Magnuson Stevens Act that require the economic impact of any rules and policies on the fishing industry and fishing communities be an important factor in any determinations.
While legitimacy questions cloud any NOAA science-driven policies derived from projections and trawl studies with minimal, if any, input from fishermen, it's hard to dismiss the comments from Jackie Odell, executive director of the Northeast Seafood Coalition, who noted that some stock assessments "have been really poor." To that end, however, Odell and the coalition have called for the council to adopt management strategies beyond the existing stock assessment models that have clearly played a role in the groundfishing industry's federally-recognized – though still unfunded — "economic disaster."
Read the full story at the Gloucester Daily Times>>
The Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance recently announced that the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation has awarded the organization a Hollings Grant to reduce whale entanglements in Alaska salmon fisheries by increasing the use of acoustic whale pingers to minimize entanglements in fishing gear.
Last week, Alaska senators Lisa Murkowski (R), Dan Sullivan (R) and Rep. Don Young (R) asked Secretary of State John Kerry to negotiate with Canadian leaders to make sure appropriate environmental safeguards are in place for mine development in Southeast Alaska.
The congressional delegation explained the importance of this issue to Alaskans and the need for assurances that the water quality in transboundary waters between Alaska and Canada will be maintained.Read more...