Hopefully, some of you saw the letter to the editor I submitted to the Portland Press Herald and Times Record. Here are the links and the letter!
Brunswick Times Record
Portland Press Herald
According to a recent report by the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, our New England fishing fleet is consolidating in one direction: away from the small-scale fishery and toward the large-scale industrialized fishery. Consolidation does not reduce the amount of fish caught, but will change the face of who does the fishing. At present, little to no protections exist that ensure who fishes will remain diverse — nor are there any measures to prevent monopolization of limited rights to fish.
The fishermen of New England have much in common with our small family farmers. However, voices reaching from the sea sometimes sound more distant than those of land-based neighboring farmers. Recent changes occurring in the Northeast fishery have brought about a dramatic transition in who is participating in the fishery. The issues are not simple, but as conscientious community members we can begin by listening to, and supporting, the voices of family fishermen who are watching their livelihoods disappear.
Currently in New England, three corporate entities control nearly 40 percent of one fish stock. Those of us concerned with the security of our food systems fear uncontrolled consolidation in the fishing industry — the result of which will include the degradation of our resources, and the loss of the independent small boat fishermen. The loss of these boats will have a domino effect on shoreside businesses.
Decisions made by the New England Fishery Management Council impact not only fishermen but also those who live, work, and eat in communities everywhere. We must raise our voices in support of the small-scale family fishermen and ask NEFMC to ensure that protections exist to foster a diverse fishery.
Ultimately, maintaining a diverse fleet is one of NEFMC’s own objectives. To learn more, visit www.namanet.org and see the report titled “Maintain Fleet Diversity in the New England Groundfish Fishery.”