Severe Impacts On Cod

Transition Period Sought

by Laurie Schreiber

The last bag of shrimp of the season. Captain David Oshier on the FV Paulo Mark hauling shrimp nets before heading back to South Bristol. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission closed the shrimp season on February 17 after determining that the total allowable catch had already been caught. Last year the season closed early. Unlike previous years a closing date had not been set this year. Instead the decision to close was based on reported landings. ©Photo by Sam Murfitt

Fishery managers are searching for ways to minimize the pain to fishing communities of expected reductions in Gulf of Maine cod catch levels.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has said that federal fishery law gives it some leeway to implement an interim measure for fishing year 2012 in the Gulf of Maine cod fishery. NMFS has indicated that the interim measure will impose a reduction in catch level for Gulf of Maine cod that is expected to be workable in terms of keeping the commercial and recreational fleets in business for another year.

But the pain is expected to come rushing back in 2013. At that time, NMFS has indicated, reductions in catch levels will likely be drastic, in order to meet a federal timeline to end overfishing on the cod stock.

At the February 10 meeting of the Gulf of Maine Cod Working Group, New England Fisheries Management Council (NEFMC) chairman Rip Cunningham called the situation “extraordinary.” “This situation is not going to just go away,” Cunningham said.


Fishermen Invited to Share Stories

The Midcoast Maine Fishing Heritage Alliance is looking for commercial fishermen living and working in Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Knox or Waldo counties who are willing to discuss their fishing family heritage through pictures, stories, news clippings and other artifacts. Fishermen are invited to share their stories in a small group setting at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum, March 2-3 in Rockport. Fishermen who have participated in collaborative research are also invited to describe their research experience.

Fishermen will be interviewed by Fishing Heritage Alliance advisors and board members. Selected fishermen will be compensated at a competitive hourly rate with certified “credit vouchers.” Vouchers can be redeemed at local vendors to purchase safety equipment, vessel maintenance services or other approved “non-fishing gear” purchases.

Since 2010, the Midcoast Maine Fishing Heritage Alliance has contracted for public outreach services with eighteen fishermen who have received a total of $17,000 to help them maintain their vessels in safe and seaworthy condition.

For more information, contact Sherman Hoyt at 522-6862 or