New England groundfishermen are taking the gloves off in the fight for survival

logo175 Fishermen to Congress: Failed Government Policies Caused the Fishing Crisis, We’ve Done Nothing Wrong

 “The forced transition of our New England groundfish fishery to catch  share management and hard TACs came with all sorts of rosy promises of  resource abundance and economic stability,” they write. They also noted  that many businesses were unable to survive the transition.
 Rather than producing the promised benefits, the transfer of the  groundfishery to sector management has led to a prolonged period of  economic instability. “There is no stability. There are only repeated,  record reductions in catch limits. Prosperity is a discarded dream.”
 They blame the current state of the groundfishery on failed government  management, writing: “Three weeks ago, NMFS Regional Administrator John  Bullard told us at the Council meeting that this was our day of  reckoning. This is not our day of reckoning – we’ve done nothing wrong  to reckon. We didn’t cause this problem.” Instead, they maintain that  the government does not have the science and data necessary to properly  manage the fishery. “For too long we’ve been subjected to the volatility  and futility of pretending to know the unknowable.”
“For nearly a decade now our fishery has fished at or below every  catch limit set by the government on every stock. We lived within their  quotas, but it is now our businesses, our families and our communities  that will be paying the price.”
“Government cannot expect our industry to continue to be subjected to  drastic cuts in allowable catches while placing additional,  government-imposed expenses upon us.”
They noted that, as the current catch share management system was  being implemented, the Northeast Seafood Coalition publicly made clear  that adequate federal funding and catch allocations would be needed for  the system to properly function. They added: “Sure enough, here we are –  less than 3 years after sector implementation – and the agency is  telling us there is not enough money to monitor or enough fish to  sustain our fishery. It’s difficult for many of us to believe that this  was just a coincidence.”  Read more and read the original letters with the signing fishermen