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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WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama announced today the designation of the first marine national monument in the U.S. Atlantic Ocean—the 4,913-square-mile (12,696-square-kilometer) Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. The monument, which begins about 150 miles off the New England coastline, is an unusually diverse and productive environment. It contains three... Read More
In the year since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) began seeking public input on whether to permanently protect three deep-sea ocean canyons and four underwater mountains about 150 miles southeast of Cape Cod, the case for such protection has grown significantly. Read More
One morning in Maine, a lobsterman motors toward the colorful buoys dotting the bay to check his traps. A charter boat captain pushes off with anglers aboard hoping to hook a tuna. Puffins and terns launch into the dawn light from their rocky island nests in search of food for their chicks. Read More
Reasons major U.S. fishing law should shift to big picture management