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>>
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...