In the News
New England Fisheries in the News – April 19, 2011
New England fishery management received significant attention in the media over the past few days, with a major story running in the Cape Cod Times on Sunday and Monday, April 17 and 18. This two-part series by Doug Fraser detailed the experiences of fishermen adapting to the new sector management system that went into effect last year and how many have been able to benefit from the increased flexibility and new sustainable business options provided by the system. One quote worth noting is from Carlos Rafael, a fisherman and fleet owner in New Bedford who originally opposed sectors but is quoted as saying, “I honestly think it will work, given time. I honestly think this is the right direction,” and that under the new system, he is doing the best he has done in the past ten years. While Fraser and those he interviewed acknowledge the economic pain many in the industry are feeling, his reporting offers a balanced view of the new system and an optimistic outlook for the future of the New England groundfish fishery under sectors.
On Switchboard, the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, attorney David Newman blogged yesterday to correct the “misleading assertions and conclusions” about the state of U.S. global fish stocks that were included in an opinion piece published in last week’s New York Times. Newman explains that government data on fish stock abundance shows that many stocks are still subject to overfishing, and many others are still below desired levels of abundance. He also provides support for maintaining a strong Magnuson-Stevens Act, something we blogged about on Talking Fish last week.
On the topic of that New York Times op-ed by scientist Dr. Ray Hilborn, Talking Fish would also like to note the following: While the piece correctly states that populations of haddock and redfish have increased dramatically in New England, it neglects to mention that many other stocks managed as part of the Northeast multispecies groundfish complex are still subject to overfishing and/or are overfished, including Atlantic cod, Atlantic halibut, white hake, windowpane flounder, winter flounder, witch flounder and yellowtail flounder. The rebound of haddock and redfish is excellent news, but it does not speak for the state of the marine ecosystem as a whole. Moreover, it is difficult to understand how a scientist of Hilborn’s stature could come to a conclusion about the overall health of the world’s fish populations given his concession in the op-ed that little is known about the stock status of fish populations in ‘much of Africa and Asia.’