Cape Cod Fishermen are Among First to Share and Better Manage Limits on Their Catch on Cod

Publication: Boston Globe

Author: Bina Venkataraman


02/21/2009 - Until three years ago, John Our did what most fishermen do when they catch more cod in a day than they are allowed to bring ashore: He threw overboard thousands of pounds of the scarce and fabled fish, once so plentiful that it helped to spawn New England cities.

"I was discarding more fish per year than I was selling," Our said. The practice was doing little to replenish cod stocks, since many fish died after being returned to the sea.

Now, he is part of a new way to tackle overfishing, one that sets a yearly cod quota to be shared by the fishermen in a community and leaves it up to them to decide how much they catch each day.

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Fifteen years ago, federal regulators adopted the days-at-sea rule to try to bring back overfished species. But the rules have proven to be a burden to fishermen and have not revived most groundfish populations, said Peter Baker, director of the Pew Environment Group's campaign to "End Overfishing in New England." The New England groundfishery now consists of about 600 active boats, fewer than half the number fishing 15 years ago, Baker said. Most species, with the notable exception of haddock, remain overfished.

Read the full article Cape Cod Fishermen are Among First to Share and Better Manage Limits on Their Catch on Cod on the Boston Globe's Web site.

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