Last of the fishermen: NH’s ground fishing captains fading away

Dozens of commercial fishing boats were once docked along the New Hampshire coastline and trawled through the Gulf of Maine to drag in thousands of pounds of cod. Today, only about five commercial ground fishermen remain active in New Hampshire. And as they continue to struggle with strict regulations on cod and other species of groundfish, many question the future of groundfishing in the Granite State. One active ground fisherman, Neil Pike, said “there ain’t one.” He lives in Seabrook and fishes out of Hampton Harbor where he said there used to be 13 other fishing vessels docked next to his. Now, he said there are three and he owns two of them. NOAA’s Greater Atlantic Regional Administrator John Bullard said strict quotas are necessary to bring cod stocks back and give the fish a better chance of making a comeback. Central to many of the fishermen’s frustrations is their belief that NOAA’s stock assessments are incorrect. New Hampshire fishermen have said NOAA stock assessments do not line up with the amount of cod they see on the water each day. Some captains claim NOAA is out to squash small boat fishermen to make it easier for them to manage federal waters. Read the story here 08:26

  • Rocky Novello

    At the present time , there is more fish now in the Gulf of Maine ,which is most fish in last fifty years ?? N.O.A.A. says ,there is no fish ? The reason is ,landings of fish is so low because most boats were put out of business because of N.O.A.A. regulations and higher cost to fish .In 1980s ,G.of M. fishing permits were 2500 , today there less than 200 permits left !!
    Boats , that do fish, stay away from areas where fish are concentrated , because they could catch their ridiculous low annual quotas in one days fishing , also this reason at-sea monitoring , does not give true picture of fish stocks .

    REASONS FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF OUR FISHING INDUSTRY

    In 1990s , our government pursued a policy of trading AMERICAN technology to second world countries for their sea-products and today American imports 93% of seafood eaten in this country!! Most of this imported sea-food is un regualated

  • DickyG

    “… he added fishermen fish in the same locations when they go out, making their assessments more biased than scientists who may go out less frequently but look at the waters indiscriminately.” Now, Erik Chapman does that really make any sense at all? Of course fishermen fish in the same locations…Um, that might be due to the fact that they know where the fish are!

    Fish are not evenly distributed 2.37 kilos per acre of ocean— and anything short of such arbitrary numbers can be considered “endangerment”. That’s an idea of the fish population dynamicists’ that facilitates their assessment bookkeeping and might fit their convulsed computer models nicely, but has nothing to do with any ocean reality.

    Fish density varies greatly from year to year depending on food, temperature and spawning conditions. They frequent specific edges of bottom composition, underwater features, and temperature breaks as well, which are variable. Fishermen are out there pretty much every day of every season of every year, and have been watching and studying these fish for generations, and they still get stumped occasionally.

    But, it’s beyond irresponsible to base fishery destroying regulations on a rare survey by scientists on a research vessel that often tows the wrong gear, at the wrong speed, in the wrong area, at the wrong time of year.

    Only cooperative surveys and co-governance, inclusive of fishermen, their gear and vessels, and their skills, will restore some degree of effectiveness and trust in fisheries management.