Maritime Gloucester hosts fleet diversity forum

Two organizations that favor federal intervention to ensure that NOAA’s catch share management system for the groundfishery — now in danger of collapse due to draconian catch limits — does not drive fishermen’s quota almost solely into the hands of large-scale boats and corporations is planning a series of workshops to examine how to keep fleet diversity and many of the smaller boats and businesses afloat.

The Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance and the Penobscot East Resource Center are co-sponsoring the series, which includes one planned for Gloucester, at Maritime Gloucester, 23 Harbor Loop, from 4-7 p.m. this Friday.

The New England Fishery Management Council has voted to develop an amendment to the catch share system, which has been in place since 2010. NOAA’s own data has shown that Gloucester’s groundfishing fleet alone has fallen from roughly 96 boats to 71 over that time, while catch share systems elsewhere have also yielded consolidation of the industry, with many smaller, independent boats unable to effectively buy or lease quota gobbled up by larger businesses that accumulate more “catch shares.”

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