New England Fisheries

2011: Favorites from our first year

Pulling up net. Photo courtesy of Will Hyler.

When we started this blog in April, we didn’t know exactly where it might lead us. We knew that we wanted to tell a variety of fish stories, and we wanted to encourage an open dialogue with people in New England who are working toward a sustainable fishing future. Our regional fisheries have gone through ups and downs this year, with sectors on a path to success, but some fish populations still showing signs of trouble.

We hope that we have provided a place to turn for informative pieces about science and policy, industry innovations and marketing opportunities, the fishermen who make their living on the water, and the many factors that go into bringing seafood to market. As we finish up our first year, we reflect on our most engaging posts, the top stories and the best dialogues on fishing in New England. Please let us know your favorite, and what you’d like to see in the future.

Sometimes the Way Forward is a Step Back
Peter Shelley wrote about the independent review of the regional fisheries management infrastructure. Although good people work at these institutions, morale and leadership were lacking. There have been leadership changes, but unfortunately, not much seems to have been done to change the culture – time for these agencies to step up their game!

Fisherman-Scientist Partnerships
This is a great post from NOAA scientists at Woods Hole who work together with fishermen to collect data. It explains some of the different ways scientists and fishermen approach their time on the water. As these groups work together on projects, they can grow to understand and respect each other’s contributions to the fishery.

Fishing Banks: The state of play in New England
Our permit bank series discussed the use of these economic tools in the groundfish fishery. State run permit banks were under discussion in this post and a new plan to facilitate state permit banks is currently available for public comment.

Federal judge puts an end to judicial fishing season for Amendment 16
An important judicial decision arrived in June when Judge Rya Zobel found that the government’s case was solid against suits from New Bedford and Gloucester that attempted an “end run around” the fishery management process. Unfortunately, plaintiffs would not accept the ruling and the suit drags on in appeals.

Consumer education is the key to better prices for New England fish
In a guest post, Glen Libby from Port Clyde Fresh Catch discusses another angle on the groundfish industry – marketing. If fishermen bring fresh, high-quality local seafood to the dock, they should work to find new markets and get a premium price for their product.

Fishermen to Council: Sectors are working; don’t make any drastic changes
The final report on the 2010 season was released in October, showing trends in landings and revenue and comparing the first year of sectors and catch limits to previous years, under days-at-sea. The data showed some negative trends continued, like boats leaving the fishery, but others improved, like increased revenue. At a “lessons learned” workshop fishermen asked for stability in the system.

Ask An Expert: Chef Richard Garcia
Our new series kicked off with a Q&A post with a local Boston chef committed to the best local seafood sourcing. We hope to bring more stories from chefs who care about their seafood choices.

There’s something wrong with this picture
Politics and fisheries management go hand-in-hand in New England. Peter Shelley hopes that fishermen and politicians can focus on the future, see the positives in the current system, and work together to find solutions for problems that still need work.

We hope that next year brings new ideas and new opportunities for our region’s fish and fishermen. Thanks for a great year and happy holidays!


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