Peter Baker, manager of the Pew Environment Group's Northeast Fisheries Program, issued the following statement today in response to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Northeast Fisheries Science Center's Interim Report for Fishing Year 2010 on the performance of the new sector management system for New England's groundfish* fleet during the first nine months of the program.
*Cod, haddock, flounder and pollock are a few species of so-called groundfish that New England fishermen have been bringing to shore for centuries.
“NOAA's report brings welcome news regarding the performance of the new sector management system. It shows that fleet-wide gross revenue for all species is up more than ten percent. Of additional significance, data previously released showed that none of the science-based annual catch limits have been exceeded. Sector management is performing as promised to bring an end to overfishing and generate more revenue for New England's fishing fleet.
“Several steps can be taken to make the sector system even more successful in future years and to allow a greater number of New England's traditional fishermen to prosper. Those ideas include a one-time rollover of unused quota as proposed by a group of Massachusetts legislators led by Senator John Kerry, implementation of a state permit bank system to ensure that traditional fishing communities remain in the fishery, and/or accumulation caps to make certain that smaller fishing businesses can compete in the new structure.”