In the ongoing battle to protect the community based fishermen from being consolidated out of the fleet, a small but important victory happened last week. The Groundfish committee of the New England Fisheries Management Council voted to approve a scoping document that begins the formal process of initiating an amendment to Magnusen Stevens that will put protection in place for smaller vessels.
If that all sounds like fisheries gibberish, here it is in plain English: the people who make the fish rules voted to start working on rules to protect a diverse fleet.
The process is somewhat long and cumbersome, but this was an important step to get things going. NAMA (in case you are new here, NAMA is the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance and we are one of the organizations that helped launch Cape Ann Fresh Catch and we continue to work very closely with CAFC. I, the primary author of this blog, am Sean Sullivan and I work for NAMA)...NAMA has worked hard to try to get regulators to listen to fishermen who are feeling pinched under catch shares. The primary complaints are that under catch shares they are under economic pressure to get big or get out. We know that the "get big" scenario doesn't work. In fact it can be argued that the whole problem of overfishing is the result of the governments last push to have the fleet "get big".
In any case, over 200 people signed a pledge to support Fleet Diversity. We are still encouraging people to sign the pledge to show fisheries managers that people care about who fishes matters.
Click here to read the pledge and add your name!
In other news, the new CAFC season will be coming along shortly. Fall is typically my favorite season for seafood. Much like terrrestrail plants and animals, fish are often the most "ripe" in the fall having eaten well all summer and adding reserves of fat. Most species will begin to put the feedbag on over the coming weeks and begin schooling up for their migrations. Almost all fish migrate to a certain extent whether it is from rocky shores to deep water, such as lobsters or from deep to inshore such as cod. In my opinion most fish species taste the best in the fall and have the best texture.
Lastly, NAMA has its own blog, and there is some interesting stuff there about fishy events around the area.