Peter Baker, manager of the Pew Environment Group's New England Fisheries Campaign, issued the following statement today in response to Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke's decision to deny a request for emergency action to increase fishing limits for New England groundfish such as cod and flounder.
"Today's announcement from Secretary Locke upholds the congressionally mandated public process by which our nation's fisheries are managed. The New England Fishery Management Council spent years developing the current groundfish management plan. To do this, the council used the best and most recent scientific and economic information to develop a new management plan that will end overfishing and put New England's fisheries on the path of long-term sustainability.
"Unfortunately some seafood businesses in Massachusetts sought to overturn this plan by encouraging elected officials to pressure Secretary Locke to use his emergency authority to increase quotas. The Secretary made the right decision to keep the council's science-based quotas. Valuing short term economic gain for a few above the long term health of the nation's public fisheries resources is clearly not in the interest of the American public. Secretary Locke's decision represents an important step in rebuilding New England's fish populations to support the families, communities and ecosystems that reply upon them."