New England Fisheries

Council Looking to Renew Groundfish Monitoring

In New England, populations of cod, like those seen here in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean, have plummeted due to severe overfishing and environmental factors, such as warming waters. Fishery managers could better help cod and other species by taking a big-picture approach to governing ocean resources. Photo credit: Joachim S. Mueller.

The New England Fishery Management Council has begun the multi-year effort of developing Amendment 23 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan, also known as the groundfish monitoring amendment. The first of five in-person scoping hearings (there will be one webinar) took place last Friday at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum in Rockport, Maine. Most, if not all, of the commenters were supportive of the amendment.

Scoping is an opportunity for the public to guide the development of the amendment and advocate for what monitoring in the groundfish fishery should look like. In order to understand what is happening in the fishery and prevent overfishing, particularly for species like Atlantic cod, there needs to be good data collected at sea. At this time, many are advocating for an increased use of electronic monitoring rather than on-board human observers as a more reliable, cost-effective approach to data collection.

The remainder of the public scoping hearings will take place throughout the month of March. For a full schedule of hearings, go to the Council’s website.


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