Groundfishing, the catching of fish that live near the ocean bottom, was the first colonial industry in America. But decades of overfishing and mismanagement have led to severe declines in groundfish stocks (such as cod, pollock, flounder, halibut), ever tightening regulations, and the loss of traditional fishing communities.
The time has come to adopt a new management approach that prevents overfishing and protects our historic groundfish industry. By establishing community-based fishing cooperatives, called "sectors", fishermen are given the opportunity to manage their own share of an annual catch limit. This provides fishermen with greater flexibility to run their businesses more efficiently and profitably, while adhering to science-based catch limits that promote rebuilding of fish populations.
Please sign our petition to rebuild New England's fish stocks – and help us preserve New England's 400-year-old industry.
Dear NMFS Regional Administrator:
I support immediate action to end overfishing and to restore New England's historic groundfish fishery. To achieve this goal, I enthusiastically support the full, effective and timely implementation of sector management and strongly recommend that the following measures be adopted and applied across the entire New England groundfish fleet by 2010:
- Science-based annual catch limits on all managed fish stocks
- Strong accountability measures that ensure fishing ceases once annual limits are reached and that correct overages if they occur
- A comprehensive monitoring and reporting system that provides accurate estimates on all fish caught (landings and discards of all species)
Full implementation of these measures will not only bring groundfish management into compliance with the new requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act but will also help create a fair and level playing field among all fishermen, whether participating in a sector or not.
Please ensure the above measures are adopted for all vessels in 2010.