Exactly two months after the Northeast groundfishery was acknowledged to have become a statutory disaster for the five New England states and New York, the regional fishery management council digs in today to debate and possibly vote on a suite of changes to the system — none with the potential to provide dramatic relief to an industry in dire straits.
Direct relief has been left to Congress; the congressional delegation has agreed to press for $100 million although no written plan exists for the use of that or any amount that may be included in the resolution of the federal budget and sequestration crisis, a spokesperson for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday.
If anything, the disaster is spreading from the groundfishery — which faces catch limits reduced by between 45 and 73 percent on Gulf of Maine Cod and multiple Georges Bank stocks, unprecedented since the enactment of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act in 1976 — to the scallop fishery, the nation's No. 1 fishery based on sales value, and a fishery centered in New Bedford.
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The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is currently soliciting applicants for open advisory panel seats as well as applications from scientists interested in serving on its Scientific and Statistical Committee.
The North Carolina Fisheries Association (NCFA), a nonprofit trade association representing commercial fishermen, seafood dealers and processors, recently announced a new leadership team. Incorporated in 1952, its administrative office is in Bayboro, N.C.