As almost any commercial fisherman is only too happy to tell you, the environmental lobby has not often been a friend.


In the eyes of many here, the big environmental groups have been more concerned with fish than fishermen, and most fishermen believe those groups are at least partly to blame for the federal government's interpretation and enforcement of the Magnuson–Stevens Act, which sets out the basic principles for managing the fishery and balancing the health of fish populations and fishing communities like New Bedford.


However, at least one such group, the Environmental Defense Fund, has attempted to define policies that benefit both the conservation of fish species and the economic well-being of fishermen. Skeptics point out that the EDF had a hand in the drafting of federal regulations that have put many fishermen out of business and is desperate to salvage something of its standing in this important debate. But to be fair, the EDF is among the few environmental groups that has paid more than lip service to fishing communities' concerns.


On Wednesday, the EDF offered a new proposal calling for putting monitors aboard all fishing vessels in an effort to better assess cod stocks, which federal regulators say have all but disappeared. Local fishermen dispute that, but in the Gulf of Maine, cod are off limits for at least six months so that information can be gathered about where the fish have gone and why.


Read the full story at the Standard-Times>>


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