Government proposal to reopen ocean commercial fishing grounds draws criticism – It does nothing to help small boat independent fishermen

“It’s not like the closed areas are just a paradise full of fish. This is not a  panacea,” said Frank Mirarchi, a Scituate fisherman of 51 years. [email protected]

  • Ah…the timeline starting in the early 1990’s has clearly indicated that whatever effort controls which were put in place, in conjunction with closing off large productive areas off of the GOM and Georges, has only consistently resulted in the cod biomass decreasing to their lowest measured historical level. So it is not a question of helping the small boat independent fishermen who were figuratively “thrown under the bus” by EDF Jane, but to now start the process in helping correct a true ecological disaster in rebuilding cod stocks by keeping the closed zones, CLOSED.

    We have all lived through the management failures brought about by the NEFMC and New England fishery politics, and this continues the “more of the same” of trying to save those who are still around, the same bad alchemy that has brought us to this point in time. Haven’t we heard the story about targeting those “under-utilized” species before…..herring and mackerel? How did that work out? Now we want to pull another rabbit out of the hat and go into areas where the last vestiges of any amount of pollock, haddock and redfish now reside? How about the discards of resident codfish that are caught when targeting these other species?

    There are few rabbits left, and we are going down the path seen with the northern cod stocks which still have not been rebuilt after two decades. It is upsetting to see this word play with the difference between the spawning protected areas, habitat protected areas and so on, which no matter what they are called, do not receive the directed groundfish effort like the rest of the GOM and Georges has during the fishing year. The opening of the closed zones is more of the “last gasps” of the New England ground fishery, and once these are mopped up, what is next?

    Who do you blame then?

    Who do you want to bail you out this time?

    What lax regulations do you want next?

    The story here is that the ground fishery industry in New England is done, and the progressive Hope & Change administration which pushed it off the cliff with the Catch Shares program, should have been held fully accountable to compensate fishermen who were economically harmed by creating this disaster. But these words have been said time and again by many, and have fallen on deaf ears, highlighted with no thanks being shown to Senator Scott Brown at the ballot box last year.

    Stop the madness….realize that the damage that is done will have a very high probability of not being corrected over the next two decades if ever during our lifetime……yes just like the Canadians have been witnessing.

    This here is the tragedy of both fish and fishermen, which has few if any winners in the coming years, and the time is here to say “its over Johnny” and to start the rebuilding so that there will be a future in cod fishing just off the coast of New England for the next generation of fishermen.