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.
Our WorkView All
When Mike Anderson arrived in Cape Cod in the 1960s as a young man with dreams of adventures at sea, many people shared the same warning: “You won’t get rich in the fishing business; it’s just a way of life.” Read More
A recent study connecting the unprecedented warming of waters in the Gulf of Maine with the historic collapse of New England’s Atlantic cod population grabbed headlines around the country, and rightly so. This important work, published in the journal Science, adds to our understanding of how warming affects the health of some ocean animals and points to ways that we can help marine life... Read More
The image put Gotham Whale on the map of New York City attractions: a humpback rising from the water against a postcard-perfect Big Apple skyline. Read More
Reasons major U.S. fishing law should shift to big picture management