Tag Archives: Northeast Seafood Coalition
The Northeast Seafood Coalition has submitted public comments for the proposed rules for the Northeast Fishery Management Plan that reiterate its lack of confidence in NOAA’s current system of scientific assessments for groundfish. The comments from the Gloucester-based NSC, submitted to NOAA Fisheries before Tuesday’s deadline, question the reported status of the witch flounder stock and sets the fishing advocacy group in opposition to the proposed allowable biological catch limit of 460 metric tons or the 2016 fishing season. “NSC expressed concern with the reported status of witch flounder during the public process,” the coalition said in its comments, which also reference the group’s “expressed concern that catch rates within the fishery are completely inconsistent with the reported stock status from the assessment.” Read the rest here 15:20
As some New England fishermen struggle under intense quota cuts, the industry is fearing another political move that could prove to have devastating consequences. There is an effort to designate Cashes Ledge — a historically important fishing area — as a national marine monument. This would require a presidential order and would effectively close the area to all commercial activity. About 80 miles off the coast of Cape Ann, a cold-water kelp forest grows from the tip of a ridge that rises from the ocean floor known as Cashes Ledge. Audio, Read the rest here 17:12
He is up before the dawn, and, a creature of steady habits, he heads for the seashore. It’s dark when Frank Mirarchi jumps into his black pickup truck, and dark still when he reaches Scituate Harbor. He parks on the town pier and stares at the ocean. But his 55-foot stern dragger is no longer moored there. Actually, the boat is there. But it’s no longer his. It was renamed last June after he sold it — a poignant punctuation point to Mirarchi’s half-century career as a commercial fisherman. Read the rest here 15:01
The study, performed by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and appearing in the journal Science, concluded the Gulf of Maine’s surface water is warming more rapidly than 99.9 percent of the rest of the world’s oceans and that climate change is a contributing factor to the demise of the cod stock. “My first question was whether any part of the study started out to understand the true status of Gulf of Maine cod or if they just assumed that the data from the assessment — which we contend is consistently wrong — is fact,” said Vito Giacalone, policy director for the Gloucester-based Northeast Seafood Coalition. “I was told it was the latter.” Read the rest here 08:39
NOAA Fisheries announced last week that funding for the at-sea monitoring program for groundfish fishermen operating under sectors will now extend through Oct. 31. This announcement was made less than a week after NOAA Fisheries denied the New England Fishery Management Council’s request to initiate an emergency action to suspend the program temporarily until a full evaluation, including a cost-benefit analysis, of the program is conducted. Read the rest here 15:51
Susanne Altenburger — The only way out that’s left, Combining groundfish ecology with fleet economics
You’d figure that this is just another colorful waterfront tale, here of improbable schemes hatched by folks of grand ambitions fiercely pursuing 50 percent visions — to never quite succeed, despite rich claims of “institutional authority,” “legitimate interest-representation,” defining “industrial policies” under whatever fractured grasp of “ecology.” And it would be a fine yarn, indeed — had not our Resource-Ecology and our Fleet-&-Port Economics been damaged to the great cost to businesses, too many families, our communities. Read the rest here 08:18
The talk of scuttling or at least pushing back any buyback program surfaced through a meeting held a week ago today among NOAA representatives, New England state fishery directors, and a number of stakeholders within the fishing industry, whose input rightfully seems to be playing a role once again in a key decision. Those include the Gloucester-based Northeast Seafood Coalition, which is on board with the potential change. Read the rest here 09:35
To the editor: With regard to NOAA’s accepting parts of a proposal of the Northeast Seafood Coalition and Gloucester fishermen: I still fail to see how this will help the small boat and fisherman who cannot go out to Georges Bank. How can this help them? It seems the larger boats have a better chance to make a living and that can be good, but what about the small guy? Is NOAA going to help them? I think it’s about time that NOAA think about the entire fleet, and not just cater to the bigger vessels. SAM PARISI Gloucester @GDT 07:35
The NSC, in a statement of its opposition to retaining the original interim actions, said that rather than saving cod, the emergency measures will increase cod discards by almost 500 percent. “We’ve shut down the redfish fishery, crippled the pollock fishery, bankrupted the entire inshore fleet and knowingly implemented a management plan that increases discards from 2 percent to 500 percent in the hope we may conserve 200 metric tons of cod that are already accounted for in the recent cod assessment? All to benefit a nation?” the NSC said. Read the rest here 19:09
The port of Gloucester and its sector-based commercial fishermen could be crushed under emergency measures NOAA Fisheries is considering for Gulf of Maine cod, potentially losing as much as one-quarter of all groundfish revenues, according to a NOAA economic report. The ultimate revenue loss will be contingent on how far NOAA cuts the Gulf of Maine cod quota as part of the emergency measures to combat what the agency has described as the continued decimation of the area’s cod stock. Read the rest here 12:52
The New England Fisheries Management Council expects to move to reduce the annual catch limit for Gulf of Maine cod in 2015 if an impending peer review process shows the dire conclusions of recently completed, if are accurate. “This is BS,” Vito Giacalone, the policy director for the Northeast Seafood Coalition, told the members of the NEFMC’s groundfish committee at the DoubleTree Hotel. “This is not the way it’s supposed to work.” <Read more here> (no need for 2nd page view) 22:29
Despite last week’s announcement of a $14.5 million federal disaster grant to the Massachusetts fishing industry, area fishermen and marine analysts believe that the funds will only serve as a stopgap for an industry that has nearly collapsed because of declining groundfish stocks. Read more here 07:36 F/V Lady Jane info here
Fishing advocates are questioning why the direct assistance contained in the federal fishery disaster aid plan is going to take so long to get to eligible fishermen and permit holders. “The long-term programs like the buyback and the state grants are going to take more time and we understand that,” Jackie Odell, executive director of the , said Monday. “But the idea was to get the direct assistance money out the door sooner rather than later.” Read more here 06:35
Patrick’s letter comes to light on the same day as the Northeast Seafood Coalition’s final poll of its 300 members on the recommended industry spending plan and the final draft of the plan, both of which were forwarded to the New England congressional delegation and the fishery directors of the eligible states. Read more here 11:31
Proposed NSC & Associates Groundfish Disaster Aid Spending Plan: My vote is NO – Dick Grachek Read more here
The Northeast Seafood Coalition’s spending plan for the approximately $33 million in federal disaster relief headed to coastal New England and New York would provide $11 million in immediate direct cash assistance to permit and vessel owners, with the remainder of the funds allocated for cash assistance to crews and a buyback program for fishing permits, but not vessels. Read more here 03:39
My vote is NO.
It’s difficult to give a “brief” explanation because there are so many things so terribly wrong with this proposal. In fact most of it is insulting and infuriating! First of all,,, Read more here 19:02
Groundfish Disaster Aid Spending Plan: NSC, Assoc.Fisheries of Me., CCCFA and Maine Coast Fishermen’s Assoc.
This proposal is meant to accomplish the following: (1) Offer a regional spending plan to ensure consistency in the treatment of fishing businesses affected by the disaster. (2) Mitigate the economic injury incurred to those commercial fishing businesses that have been impacted by the groundfish disaster. (3) Improve the future viability of the commercial groundfish fishery. . Read more here 02:27
Pingers emit a high-frequency sound that harbor porpoises in particular do not like. Gillnet fishermen attach these devices, about the size of a closed fist, to the rope of the nets they suspend vertically in the water from buoys, like sheets on a clothesline, to catch fish. [email protected] 17:08
For over the past five years, the Northeast Seafood Coalition has actively participated in the New England Fishery Management Council process surrounding the Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat Amendment 2 (commonly referred to as the Habitat Omnibus Amendment) to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. [email protected] 02:18
“It’s all about habitat,” NSC executive director Jackie Odell said when asked what’s next on the coalition’s agenda. And with good reason. It is an extraordinarily complex process, now moving into its sixth year. It is heavily driven by science and varying perspective — and thus often rife with the contention and disagreement that have emerged as the hallmarks of the effort to sustain and govern the American commercial fishing industry. [email protected] 07:54
The Northeast Seafood Coalition (NSC) expresses sincere appreciation to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and the Governor’s office for their leadership in certifying to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) that the Massachusetts groundfish industry has suffered substantial economic injury as a result of a fishery resource failure. [email protected] 12:15
“As we continue to digest the report, we are very pleased to see a variety of third-party findings that mirror what our organization and our fishermen have been saying for a number of years,” Northeast Seafood Coalition executive director Jackie Odell said in a statement. Most specifically, according to Odell, the report trumpeted the coalition’s and fishermen’s long-held position that there is a greater need for management flexibility in the Northeast groundfish fishery to account for shifting environmental and ecological conditions, as well as “the inherent limitations of science and a mismatch between policymakers’ expectations for scientific precision and the complex dynamics of the ecosystem.” [email protected] 04:14
Two hundred thirty commercial groundfish fishing industry members of the Northeast Seafood Coalition wrote to Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and Senator Richard C. Shelby, Raking Member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations to express sincere thanks for their efforts to secure $150 million in fishery disaster assistance in the FY2014 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies appropriations bill. continued here 08:51
Letter from Executive Director Jackie Odell
NOAA step won’t aid local boats – “The area they want us to fish does absolutely no good to the Gloucester and New England fleet,”
A proposal to open portions of at least two areas previously closed to fishing in the waters off Cape Cod and Nantucket, with tight restrictions, would hold no benefit for Gloucester’s fishermen casting nets from smaller vessels and little for the few working larger off-shore boats, fishermen and others said Thursday. [email protected]
It’s curious that, when Mayor Carolyn Kirk began touting a “bridge plan” purported to be a transition course for Gloucester’s fishing industry and waterfront, she didn’t bother discussing the approach with her own city fisheries commission — to whom she’s deferred in the past. And it’s troubling that she’s pushing this so-called plan without also speaking with leaders of the Gloucester-based Northeast Seafood Coalition,,,,continued
Gov. gets deaf ear from White House on fisheries as Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to President Obama Dummies Up!
Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to President Obama, has declined to explain why the White House turned a deaf ear to the pleas of Gov. Deval Patrick for relief from what Patrick told her were “impending drastic cuts” in landings allowed the groundfishing fleet concentrated in his state. continued
Jackie Odell, Northeast Seafood Coalition @ “Managing our Nation’s Fisheries” conference – timelines should be replaced with fishing mortality rate-based strategies,
Odell Wednesday offered an alternative to 10-year, or any rebuilding timelines. They “should be replaced with fishing mortality rate-based strategies, which on average over the long term will rebuild a stock to biomass (that will produce) maximum sustainable yield. Such a strategy would achieve the core objective of fisheries management, to sustain commercial and recreational ‘fisheries’ while preventing overfishing. continued
On Monday, April 29, the Northeast Seafood Coalition held a rally in Boston, MA to mobilize support for efforts to help the groundfish industry weather what they have called “The Perfect Storm of Circumstances.” Northeast Region Administrator John Bullard attended the rally to show NOAA Fisheries support for fishermen, fishing families and fishing communities. continued
“day of reckoning”? the fishing community “can’t take its foot off the pedal. This is a fight that has to continue,”
But Bullard was the person who made the official decision to slash quotas to rebuild stocks, and there were many in the crowd who are angry at him for that. Finally, after the speeches had ended, Paul Vitale, of Gloucester, owner of the 50-foot trawler Angela and Rose out of Gloucester, broke the silence over Bullard, angrily challenging Bullard to explain himself, but Bullard said nothing. Vitale told The Standard-Times that with the new quotas, he will be fishing “one or two times a month” and is looking for outside work. continued
Who are we and why are we rallying? Read it here
With fishermen in Gloucester and elsewhere in New England staring at extreme and nearly across-the-board federally mandated cuts in landings of groundfish, the Northeast Seafood Coalition, the region’s largest industry group, is leading a major rally for the industry Monday on the Boston Fish Pier beginning at 11 a.m. The rally will feature U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Attorney General Martha Coakley and Congressman John Tierney among the speakers, all of whom are Democrats, but have failed, like their fellow partisans, to reach President Obama to change administration policy. continued
he Northeast Seafood Coalition, the region’s largest industry group, has announced plans to host a public rally at the Boston Fish Pier next Monday at 11 a.m. to build support for the government to provide disaster assistance to the groundfishing industry and communities from which home-port the fleet. continued
Fishermen look to White House – John Bullard, NOAA’s Northeast regional administrator based at Gloucester’s Blackburn Industrial Park, scoffed at that idea.
By default and past experience, what slim hope remains to relieve the declared federal fisheries disaster before it consumes the surviving core of the groundfishing fleet in Gloucester and other New England ports has shifted from leadership at the Commerce Department to the White House. ”I have not heard one word about fisheries from the president,”said Paul “Sasquatch” Cohan, the Gloucester fisherman who announced at the Warren meeting in Gloucester that he had nothing left to fight with. “I wouldn’t give up, but now I have to give up,” said Cohan, who operated a gillnet day boat. Read more
175 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
Vito Giacalone, president of the Gloucester Fishing Community Preservation Fund, has been cleared of any wrongdoing by former attorney general L. Scott Harshbarger after a three-month investigation. But that does not mean Giacalone is happy with what he found in Harshbarger’s report. In fact, he said, he was astonished to read — for the first time — details of the allegations against him, such as charges of misappropriation of funds and exerting improper influence on fishermen. Read more here
Yes, NOAA can show “scientific” data suggesting that these dire cuts — up to 77 percent for the Gulf of Maine cod catch — may be necessary. Yet NOAA also had 2008 survey data that showed many of the cod stocks were already rebuilt. And NOAA’s latest data is off an assessment model that did not include any input from fishermen, meaning it’s no more credible than the admittedly bogus data used in the “Trawlgate” fiasco of 1999-2000, when NOAA conceded its statistics were hopelessly flawed, yet still used them to set stock limits. Read more here
But it was clear from the start that the Preservation Fund, which paid for Harshbarger’s services, essentially had the probe and the report right under its own thumb. And instead of answering questions, the report itself — released through selected public presentations last week, yet still protected under attorney-client privilege, as its own pages note — has unfortunately raised new ones. Read more here
Former state Attorney General Scott Harshbarger says he was aware that he cited a disbarred lawyer as a character witness for Vito Giacalone’s altruism in an investigative report that cleared Giacalone — fisherman, shoreside Gloucester businessman, head of the Gloucester Fishing Community Preservation Fund and policy head of the Northeast Seafood Coalition — of abusing his influence in collusion with other powerful industry figures. And Harshbarger conceded Friday that he had uncovered evidence similar to one second-hand allegation —Read more here
Claiming his hands are tied legally, NOAA regional administrator John Bullard has rejected a nearly unanimous request by the New England Regional Fishery Management Council to give the inshore cod fishery centered on Gloucester a second year of interim relief from extreme cuts in landings. The interim action on Gulf of Maine cod for the 2012 fishing cycle, which ends April 30, reduced landing limits by 22 percent compared to the prior year, and the seafood coalition — later backed by the regional council — had hoped to extend that limit rate for another year, in part while questions are answered regarding the assessments. Read more
Indeed, it’s time that NOAA officials realize that, until there is true cooperative research and stock assessments involving both the government and the industry, there will be dire credibility questions about science from an agency that admittedly used the wrong-sized nets and other gear in the infamous “Trawlgate” scandal at the turn of the new century, and from an agency led by a “scientist” — outgoing NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco — who was a major signer to the alarmist “Oceans of Abundance” report that was corporately funded by the Walton Foundation of Walmart fame, and has been widely refuted across the marine science community. Read more
The New England Fishery Management Council has voted to recommend giving commercial groundfishermen access to parts of five areas that have been closed to them for many years. The request to open closed areas to commercial fishing came days before the NOAA Science Center issued a report on the 2011 fishing year that contained the revelation that only 41 percent of allocated fish were landed in 2011. Read More
The New England Fishery Management Council approved the proposal from the Gloucester-based coalition at its special meeting Wednesday in Wakefield. The move came in conjunction with a decision to defer setting catch limits for the groundfishery until the regularly scheduled January meeting – a time frae tha would benefit from a benchmark Gulf of Maine stock assessment and the vetting of it by the council’s Science and Statistical Committee. The coalition wrote last Monday to the council laying out a legal theory derived from an interpretation of the Magnuson-Stevens Act by NOAA last year that became the basis of a one-year interim emergency action on inshore cod that kept the reduction in landings to 22 percent. Read more
Fish panel holds off on limit cuts – “I say if you’re going to take 1 damn percent (more), shut the whole God damn thing down!”
New England fishing regulators Thursday delayed voting on a series of significant cuts to fishermen’s 2013 allowable catch in groundfishing stocks after repeated and emotional warnings that the reductions would finish off an industry already grappling with a federally recognized economic “disaster.” The New England Fishery Management Council voted 15-2 to put off deciding on new catch limits for various bottom-dwelling groundfish species until their next meeting, scheduled for the end of January. Read More
The coalition theory was based on an interpretation of the Magnuson-Stevens Act for building a second year of relief — “reducing” rather than “ending” overfishing — while a plan to bring the stock to maximum sustainable yield is crafted.,“I’m not going to opine on whether you can squeeze another year out of (the Magnuson regulations),” Bullard said in a Thursday interview at the Times. “We’re willing to take a look at this at the meeting.” Read More
The Northeast Seafood Coalition is pleased to provide the following comments on the Amendment 18 scoping document. This cites 2 objectives identified by the Council for Amendment 18:
Preliminary data shows a low number of takes in OctoberThe following was released by the Northeast Seafood Coalition. GLOUCESTER, Mass. — November 20, 2012 — Gillnet fishermen in the Northeast region of the U.S. are making strident efforts to reduce harbor porpoise interactions and preliminary data shows a low number of takes in the month of October. http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?llr=b5nrgsdab&v=001a8Hy8I3nCiSqK_sIjgm-aYyGxnMZkGoQtuVzL2bHeuoHqE1rqPTxOVVdO66EOmP4U6rQJmzHjYNvL6ylOJu81k1O9QvfX84-P5W-gq2i0GSWRNslIUmlYg%3D%3D
The crisis threatening the survival of Gloucester and other East Coast fishing communities — which have declined into officially declared disaster during the last four years — has not registered a blip during the 2012 national election campaign, even as voters go to the polls today. Neither Mitt Romney nor President Obama has paid a whit’s attention to an $331 million industry, though Obama has given silent support to his team at NOAA Fisheries, headed by Jane Lubchenco, over calls for her ouster from several fedral lawmakers. http://www.gloucestertimes.com/topstories/x121541642/Presidential-race-radar-never-hit-fishing-crises
Northeast Seafood Coalition issues statement on Accumulation Caps, Fleet Diversity, and “Amendment 18” – savingseafood.org
WASHINGTON (Saving Seafood) October 12, 2012 — On Wednesday, October 10, the Gloucester Daily Times reported that “NOAA’s regional administrator, joined by the Environmental Defense Fund,
the Pew Environment Group, the North Atlantic Marine Alliance and Food & Water Watch, is supporting a belated effort by the federal government to limit the accumulation of catch shares and thus provide
safeguards to smaller independent boats in the Northeast groundfishery…”
Once again, the cart before the horse.
This should have been addressed before amendment 16 was rammed through. The EDF goal of Herr Lubchenco.
Yes, consolidation was occuring pre a-16, but then it really was free market driven consolidation.
Of course, the NSC syndicate likes it the way it is now, and why would’t they?
As far as “crossing the border” skirting the referendum vote, that has already taken place, the reason for the lawsuit.
For the syndicate to be concerned, is like Walmart saying they care about their employees, and they are looking out for their best interests! Why the parallel?
There are a whole bunch of fishermen not represented by the syndicate, that work within the syndicate. Crewmen that rely on the owners to do the right thing for them, as they share the expenses in the free enterprise lay/share arraingement of compensation, along with the owners. Crewmen now pay for leased quota with no representation, along with the regular expenses. They have become poorer and marginalized.
Only now is there a half assed effort to understand the system of compensation through a “socio economic survey” that should have been considered pre a-16.
I’m sure Johanna Thompson is a nice lady, but to read about EDFs concerns about fishermen? I find them amusing, and diingenuous following the history of EDFs actions, and knowing they recieve multi millions year in, year out from the Walton Foundation to privatize the resource.
Funny thing about the “socio” survey. All the current data collected already includes people like Johanna, regulators, and “stakeholders” involved in fishery issues.
Everyone except the fishermen!
ABOLISH CATCH SHARES NOW!
Everybody’s Happy About the Harbor Porpoise Decision! Well, Except the Enviros. Here’s a bunch of link’s!
Senator Kerry Welcomes Changes to Gillnet Fishery Closure
New Bedford fishermen hail feds’ change of heart on porpoise closure
Northeast Seafood Coalition thanks NOAA for “win-win” decision on Harbor Porpoise Closure