Habitat debate intensifies ahead of NEFMC vote; Many ask, “Do closures even work?”

logoWASHINGTON (Saving Seafood) — December 16, 2013 — Georges Bank is home to some of the most important fishing grounds in New England. But large portions of it have been off-limits to commercial groundfishermen and scallopers for almost twenty years, with a network of closed areas in place intended to restore habitat and assist in the rebuilding of fish populations. Now that network is up for revision with the Omnibus Habitat Amendment, which is currently being considered by the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC). The Amendment process has sparked a debate among fishermen, scientists, and environmental groups over these areas’ future. Questions have been raised over whether they are best left closed to facilitate conservation, or if the scallop and groundfish fleets should once again be allowed access to some of the most abundant fishery areas in the region. Added to that, is a discussion as to whether or not these closures have even benefited groundfish at all. more here  14:37