Vol. 12, No. 3 – March 2007    News & Comment for and by the Fishermen of Maine          SUBSCRIBE NOW!!
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Bottom Up Management, Old Concept
by Jeff Della Penna

With headlines in the press that the NOAA Fisheries Service has begun the Process to End Overfishing by 2010, in accordance with the new Magnuson-Stevens Act”, it’s interesting that one of the plans will be the developing of new guidance to assist regional fishery management councils.

“The President is determined to stop overfishing and rebuild the nation’s marine fisheries to sustainable levels to maximize their economic and environmental benefit to the nation,” said Bill Hogarth, director of NOAA Fisheries Service. “We are pleased that Congress gave us new tools to end all overfishing and we look forward to continued support in the 2008 budget process.”

A press release from NOAA went on to say that overfishing still occurs at various levels in 48 fisheries in U.S. waters, “although NOAA has significantly improved the situation in recent years.”

As the US (as well as the State of Maine) struggles with the task of policing the fisheries, it’s interesting to look at the implementations and benefits of a Community Based Fishery Management (CBFM) style of home-rule in other places around the world. From New Zealand to Mexico, the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea, Solomon, Fiji, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, Viet Nam or Japan the world is full of examples of CBFM programs in various stages of development.

Big Port Walter, Alaska. Coastal fisheries resources in Japan are managed by over 1,200 cooperatives throughout the island. Each has their own bylaws defined by national and coop laws. It has been this way for decades. Alaska uses a range of different community based management plans. Opinions vary on some, but they too have been in place for years. Photo: NOAA

Monhegan Trap Day
by Steve Cartwright

MONHEGAN — Don Cundy says the fishing stinks.

But it’s what he does, and anyway, deep down he still loves the work. Cundy has a half-century perspective on fishing from the offshore island he calls home.

This winter, after a good start, lobstering has slowed to a crawl and Cundy said the weather’s been awful around Monhegan, a village of 50 year-rounders, 10 miles from the mainland.

“Most everyone’s disappointed with the catch,” Cundy said.

So why does he still go out?

“I guess I like to do it, and you can always use the money. I don’t go like I used to, but I still set about 530 traps,” said Cundy, 70. For as long as he can remember, Monhegan has had a winter lobster season, now set Dec. 1st until the end of May.

Lobster prices dipped just before Christmas, and that was unwelcome, he said. Thirteen boats are fishing for lobster this winter, and the trap limit is 600 each. Cundy said, “we’re crowded on the edges” by bigger, faster lobster boats from the mainland.


At the end of the wooden trap era, Monhegan 1978. On trap day, December 1st, fishermen set their thousands of traps in the waters two miles around the island. On trap day at the end of May, all fishermen bring ashore the thousands of traps. Monhegan has the only closed lobster season, a self imposed regulation begun decades ago. The practice was formalized in 1998 by the state legislature. Photo: Cathleen Carreiro

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