Sitting on Armageddon

Management Pressed for Change

by Laurie Schreiber

John Bullard, Northeast Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service. “The problem that dominated every session was the distrust fishermen feel. It’s not just one voice that’s saying, ‘We don’t have confidence in the way science is done.’ It’s a lot of voices. It’s prevalent. It’s everywhere,” Bullard said. © Photo by Sam Murfitt.

PLYMOUTH, Mass. – Three months into listening to the challenges facing the groundfish industry, John Bullard, new Regional Administrator, Northeast Region of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), said that engaging fishermen in the process to improve management and science will be essential for the fishery’s recovery.

But at the September meeting of the New England Fisheries Management Council (NEFMC), groundfishermen had bleak predictions for the future, particularly in light of expected harvest reductions of 70 percent or more for fishing year 2013 for a number of stocks.

On Sept. 13, the Department of Commerce announced a disaster declaration for the industry. The declaration is the first step in the process toward securing economic relief – if federal funds are available.


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