Welcome to yet another season of Cape Ann Fresh Catch. Part of our mission at Cape Ann Fresh Catch is to make sure that you are not only getting the freshest possible sustainable seafood, but also that we try to help explain some of the complex issues that make seafood, sustainability etc., such difficult topics.
This year has been a challenging one for fishermen in many ways. An entirely new system of rules was put in place last May called "catch shares". The system has, as expected, resulted in consolidation among the fleet. The unfortunate part of consolidation is that it is tending to favor the larger boats at the expense of the smaller day boats and the community based fishermen. In other words, the big boats are buying up all the quota and the little guys are still struggling. All this despite news that most of the stocks of groundfish are rebuilt.
Once again this May quota's will be given out, and fishermen will begin a new "fishing year." As if fishing were not hard enough, many fishermen are nearly out of quota, while it seems that others are holding on to quota to get a better price at the end of the fishing year. This has led to variability in landings, which some days very nearly no fish is landed in Gloucester.
So, it will be an interesting year as fishermen anticipate new higher quotas. Meanwhile, we'll be doing our best to continue to bring you the freshest seafood anywhere!
If you've been following this blog and are interested in more about some new thinking in fish science, there is a great interview with Ted Ames of the Penobscot East Resource Center about the connection between alewife runs in Maine rivers and the lack of ground fish in coastal Maine.