Working on a sea change in New England's fishery management
Ocean health along the U.S. East coast
Atlantic cod has been a mainstay of the New England economy and an icon of regional culture since the early American colonies. Today, 14 of 20 groundfish populations are either overfished or experiencing overfishing, including dinnertime favorites cod and flounder, and this decline is hurting the region’s marine environment and economy. Our work in the region has helped change the way this fishery is managed so that fish populations can rebuild, and in turn, sustain a more productive fishing industry and stronger coastal economies.
On May 1, 2010, the National Marine Fisheries Service implemented a new management system for groundfish in New England. It established 17 fishermen-run collectives, called sectors. Sectors were pioneered by fishermen as voluntary, cooperative and community-based, and were designed to protect fleet diversity and coastal communities. The new management system operates on three simple premises:
- It implements science-based catch limits to prevent overfishing and rebuild fish populations.
- It incorporates monitoring so fishermen and regulators know exactly how much fish is being caught, and as a result, fishing stops once catch limits have been reached.
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As you read this, the opportunity for Americans to voice their opinion on an extraordinarily biodiverse area of the Atlantic Ocean is closing. Aug. 15 is the final day to submit comments to the Department of Commerce on the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, which was established to safeguard an ecosystem teeming with sea life, including deep-sea corals that can take... Read More
In April, President Donald Trump directed secretaries at the Departments of the Interior and Commerce to review 27 national monuments, including the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, which was created in September 2016. On July 26, The Pew Charitable Trusts submitted a comment letter to convey its strong support of this marine monument and encourage decision-makers to... Read More
In June, after centuries unseen by human eyes, deep-sea corals in the dark ocean off New England finally had their moment in the spotlight. Underwater robots operated by a team of American and Canadian scientists illuminated dense forests of corals, including spectacular specimens that are likely many hundreds of years old. Read More
Reasons major U.S. fishing law should shift to big picture management