New England fishermen face grim future

Some of New England’s embattled groundfish fishermen say they might go out of business because of a new cost the federal government is about to impose on them on Tuesday.

Fishermen of important commercial species such as New England cod and haddock must pay the cost of fishing monitors under new rules scheduled to take effect Tuesday. The monitors, whose services can cost more than $700 per day, collect data to help determine future fishing quotas.

The federal government had been paying the bill, but fishing regulators say there isn’t enough money to do so anymore because of other obligations within the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Fishermen, advocates for the industry and a host of New England politicians have said the cost will sink a fleet already struggling with tight catch quotas and dwindling cod populations. Some fishermen also say a cutback in fishing by New England’s fleet could make popular food species, including flounder, hake and pollock, less available to consumers.

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About the author

Jessica Hathaway

Jessica Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman. She has been covering the fishing industry for 13 years, serves on the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s Communications Committee and is a National Fisheries Conservation Center board member.

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