National Fisherman

CHATHAM — State fishery officials came into town Thursday night looking for ideas on how to spend $8.2 million in federal aid intended to help struggling fishermen.

For years, the Cape's fishing fleet has suffered steep financial losses as iconic fish stocks such as cod were not rebuilding as expected and as fishermen were dealt drastic cuts in their quotas.

In 2012, then-Commerce Secretary Rebecca Lent officially issued a fisheries disaster declaration in New England. Finally this year, Congress approved a $32.8 million aid package to six New England states, with Massachusetts receiving $14.5 million of the initial two rounds of a $22 million disbursement.

Chatham fishermen at the Thursday meeting were highly critical of the first phase of the aid package, which will soon issue a $32,000 check to each of the 191 qualifying permit holders whose vessels each caught at least 5,000 pounds of cod, haddock, flounder or other bottom-feeding fish, known collectively as groundfish, in any one year between 2010 and 2013. Fishermen said many on the Cape, which once had one of the top cod and groundfish ports in the country in Chatham, didn't qualify for the direct aid. In recent years, they had to fish for other species, like dogfish and skate, because there were no more cod.

"This (aid package) took care of a lot of guys who came into the business in the last three years. They're going to get a lot of money," said Chatham fisherman Mike Abdow. "I sold my permit in 2011 because I didn't get enough quota, and there were no fish out there."

Read the full story at Cape Cod Times>>

Want to read more about Federal disaster aid? Click here...

Inside the Industry

NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.


A new study has identified a set of features common to all ocean ecosystems that provide a visual diagnosis of the health of the underwater environment coastal communities rely on.

Together, the features detail cumulative effects of threats -- such as overfishing, pollution, and invasive species,  allowing responders to act faster to increase ocean resiliency and sustainability.

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