I was a little stunned to see the assertion stated so plainly, although I’m not sure why, given the agency’s love of quota-based management systems, which leave a lot of fishermen on the outside looking in. Certainly the increasingly onerous restrictions imposed upon Northeast harvesters over the past 15 years in the name of meeting Magnuson-Stevens groundfish stock rebuilding mandates have taken a toll on New England’s small-boat fishermen — and their communities.
NMFS will say it’s simply following the law. Maybe so, but in the process, too many small-boat fishermen are falling by the wayside.
If that’s the intent, it’s hard to fathom why. Our government is more than willing to give billions of dollars to save bloated, mismanaged financial institutions and automobile manufacturers. But it has no desire to help hardworking folks like the small-boat fishermen who have been providing food to American families for more than 400 years? That’s a chilling thought, indeed.