What We Know About Fleet Consolidation
We created this page to share the various reports, charts, and documents related to fleet consolidation in New England's groundfishery. We know from other areas of the economy that unchecked consolidation can have disasterous consequences. For example, consolidation in our land-based food system resulted in displacing family farmers, degrating our lands, and reducing the quality of our food. Like with our farmers, we believe that 'Who Fishes' has enourmous ecological, social/economic, and food-system signficance. Therefore, we need to get the facts on where consolidation is heading us and ensure we do not repeat past mistakes.
"We do, however, see evidence of a fisheries disaster caused by the transition to catch shares, with a disproportionate impact on small boat (30-50') owners, which have been hampered by their limited range and limited access to quota." - MA Division of Marine Fisheries report, Comparative Economic Survey and Analysis of Northeast Fishery Sector 10. November 2011.
WHAT WE KNOW
Fleet consolidation can take on many forms - concentration of ownership, reduction in number of active vessels, fewer ports where fish are landed, fewer gear types, and a narrower scale of vessel size/capacities serve just to name a few. Consolidation also takes place in the quota leasing market. Below is what we know so far.
Consolidation by location: PORTLAND, ME
Active groundfish vessels in ME declined 40% more in 2010 compared with the average decline of the previous 3 years. Landings in Portland, ME declined 51% more in 2010 compared with the average decline in Portland over the past 3 years. In 2010 the fleet wide decline in active vessels was 5% greater when compared to the past 3 years. (1) To read the comments of Portland fisherman Brian Pearce click here.
Consolidation by location: SOUTH SHORE, MA
Between 2009 and 2010 Sector 10's landings declined 61% and groundfish gross revenue declined by 52%. Total revenue loss was $1,567,000. (3) To read South Shore fisherman Stephen Welch's letter to the MA delegation click here.
Consolidation by location: NEW BEDFORD, MA
Between 2009 and 2010 landings went UP from 18.3 million pounds to 20.7 million pounds. (2)
Consolidation by location: BOSTON, MA
Between 2009 and 2010 landings went UP from 7.4 million pounds to 8.7 million pounds. (2)
Consolidation by VESSEL SIZE
2010 revenue for boats under 50 ft. went DOWN 12.5% more when compared to the average decline of the past 3 years. 2010 revenue for boats between 50-75 ft. went UP 28% when compared to the average of the past 3 years. 2010 revenue for boats above 75 ft. went UP 41% when compared to the average revenue of the past 3 years. (1)
Consolidation by LEASING
In 2011 the Cape Cod Fixed Gear Sector leased OUT a net 2.4 million pounds of fish. The New Hampshire NESC Sector 12 leased OUT a net 245,000 pounds. Both the Tri-State Sector and Northeast Coastal Communities Sector each leased OUT nearly 100,000 pounds. The NESC Sector 2 (Gloucester Trawl) leased IN a net 4.7 million pounds. The NESC Sector 6 (New Bedford) leased IN a net 2.2 million pounds. (4)
Consolidation by: OWNERSHIP
In 2007 the top 20% of the groundfish fleet earned 67% of the revenue. In 2008 the top 20% earned 67% of the revenue. In 2009 the top 20% earned 69% of the revenue. And then in 2010 the top 20% of the fleet earned 80% of the revenue. (1)
To take action and read more about the Fleet Diversity Amendment 18 please click here.