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
The small Atlantic menhaden, which plays an important role as prey in the ocean, could have a big year in 2017, as we wrote recently. This month, fishery managers received a clear message in public comments that have poured in on how to manage Atlantic menhaden: Conserve the species for its contribution to the marine ecosystem. Read More
Schools of Atlantic herring are hypnotizing to watch. Like many other small fish, they gather in enormous numbers—ranging from thousands to more than a million—and swirl in morphing shapes as they divide and reunite in their efforts to avoid lunging predators. Read More
2017 could be a stellar year for menhaden, the lifeblood of the East Coast’s ocean food web—and today is a big day. The public’s chance to comment on management of these forage fish ends today, Jan. 4, at 5 p.m. EST. If you haven’t yet weighed in, please consider adding your voice to the many calling for fishery managers to recognize menhaden’s value as food for... Read More
Reasons major U.S. fishing law should shift to big picture management