DANVERS — The New England Fisheries Management Council rolled through the first two days of its meetings here, setting its priorities for 2014 and attending to the other strands of minutia that, when spun together, finally give way to the intricate tapestry that is fisheries management in the 21st century.
While important, the work of the first 48 hours still has carried with it a sense of the undercard, inexorably leading the proceedings to today and the main event: assembling the preferred alternatives for the Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat Amendment.
The council is scheduled to begin deliberations on the dozens of proposals at 8:30 a.m. in the grand ballroom of the Doubletree Hotel, and it’s anyone’s guess when council chairman Terry Stockwell actually will call the vote. If there were a gambling line on it in Las Vegas, you might be wise to bet the over.
The task in front of the council is an immense one, carrying with it the weighty implications of helping decide — after another lengthy series of public comment and the final decision by NOAA and the Department of Commerce — just where commercial fishermen will be allowed to fish in the northeast multi-species fishery beginning in the winter of 2015.