01/27/2011 - Scores of fishermen have stopped going to sea in the past year as controversial new rules take hold that could fundamentally alter the storied fishing economy, culture, and communities of New England.
The region’s scenic harbors already shelter hundreds fewer fishing boats than a decade ago, but some worry that smaller boats may vanish altogether: There are some signs the new rules, which assign groups of fishermen a quota on their catch of cod and other bottom-hugging fish, could accelerate a trend of consolidating those boats into far fewer, more efficient vessels. Some small-boat fishermen are selling or leasing their allotment to others under the new rules because they cannot turn a profit.
The industry has already consolidated. Between 2001 and 2009, the number of vessels landing groundfish in the Northeast shrank from 1,024 to 477, according to federal statistics.
“And that was not a function of a management system, but a function of not enough fish,’’ said Peter Baker of the Pew Environment Group, an advocacy organization that is supporting the new sector program.
Read the full article Change in Fishing Rules Altering Storied Industry on the Boston Globe's Web site.