Vol. 12, No. 6 – June 2007    News & Comment for and by the Fishermen of Maine          SUBSCRIBE NOW!!
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Fix-up For A Frig-up
by Laurie Schreiber

Scallop fishermen are unhappy with a complicated set of alternatives proposed in an updated fishery management plan.

The New England Fishery Management Council held public hearings in recent weeks on Amendment 11 to the Scallop Fishery Management Plan, as part of a series of hearings from Maine to Virginia.

NEFMC is looking to get the plan completed. The deadline for submitting comments is June 11. NEFMC expects to make its final decision on A11 at their meeting in Portland on June 19-21.

Comments may be sent to Patricia Kurkul, Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Regional Office, 1 Blackburn Dr., Gloucester, MA 01930; fax 978-281-9135; scallop.eleven@noaa.gov. The draft statement may be found at www.nefmc.org/scallops.

The consensus for fishermen at the Ellsworth hearing was that, if Maine’s distinct fishery is not managed as a separate area, the amendment would essentially do away with Maine’s small boat fishery.

“I’m totally against this,” said NEFMC scallop advisor Gerry Hatch of Owls Head.

“You’ve got way too many things going in this pot here,” said Stanley Sargent of Milbridge, adding, “We could end up with nothing.”

The goal of A11 is to control capacity and mortality in the general category fishery.

GC is currently an open access fishery created when limited access was implemented in 1994. Open access means any vessel that wants to apply for a permit can; there are no specific qualifications. The main control on mortality is a daily possession limit of 400 pounds.


Scalloping in Maine has been in a steep decline after a few good years in the 1990’s. Maine’s General Category, small boat fleet fears being left out of the fishery by regulations, history and pressure from the Limited Access fleet. Photo: Fishermen's Voice files

Japanese Fishing Cooperative Associations:
An Ancient Form Of CBFM

by Jon Keller

Historians theorize that Japanese commercial fishing dates back nine thousand years, with formalized management dating back to the 9th century. Some of the oldest records concern the freshwater fishery on Lake Biwa, and the territorial rights of the villages there haven’t changed significantly in over 1,000 years.

The dawn of Japanese fishing management came via the manorial system, when emperors granted villages specific rights to weirs. It wasn’t until the 13th century that management concerning mobile gear, such as hook and line, were mentioned.

During the feudal era (referred to as the Edo Period, 1603-1867) Japan was organized by a hierarchal system, the country then divided into fiefdoms, with clearly demarcated agricultural boundaries. These boundaries were eventually extended into the sea, delineating specific boundaries for the coastal villages, the lines usually representing an extension of that village’s agricultural territory.

Over the years, villages came to be designated as either agriculturally based (jikata) or fishery based (urakata). These designations made village taxation easier for the lords, with tax laws differing between the two types of villages. Eventually, the fishery-based villages were split into species-specific fishing communities.

The Sea Division Law of 1719 served to formally divide some areas of Japan, such as Okinawa, into sea territories, in the same manner as the land had been split into agricultural territories. This law gave villages—regardless of their economic stature of fishing or farming—exclusive rights to their territory. Accordingly, there was no national involvement in the fisheries, and any regulations were local.

However, some villages did share common grounds. But these commons weren’t free-for-all fisheries; instead, they were divided according to gear and species types. Some areas had strict guidelines to prevent overfishing—so localized was the theory and practice—such as banning bottom gillnets or mesh trawl nets. Even seaweed was harvested seasonally, with the spawning season closed to protect the fragile fish eggs.

As Japan evolved commercially, socially and politically, the fisheries were left out of the increasing bureaucracy, and villages maintained control of their territories throughout the rest of the Edo Period.


Community managed fisheries means local control, smaller boats and more of them, more employed fishermen, support service business and regional economic trickle down. Japan’s long fishing history has taught them that local control was key for survival. Photo:NOAA

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