NOAA study shows shrinking fleet

The NOAA Fisheries Science Center has published an analysis of the 2011 Northeast groundfishery — the second year of catch share trading activity and the last year of optimism in a fishery that has descended into a recognized “disaster.”

And the report acknowledges the size of the fleet diminishing while the “economic performance” of the survivors “has generally improved.”

But two independent analysts, from the Northeast Seafood Coalition and the School of Marine Science and Technology at University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, see evidence of discouraging trends in the Science Center report. The coalition cited volatility and a researcher for the so-called SMAST program said the report shows troubling signs of uneven distribution of revenues.

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