Conflicting mandates within the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 - the prevailing fisheries management law in the United States - require we save the fish and maximize economic efficiency. More often than not, efficiency has won out leading to the continued industrialization of the fleet even if the fish ended up being the losers. Because of this conflict, the attempts to recover collapsed fisheries have not been successful. Because of these conflicting mandates, more and more, the industrial fleet is winning favors from fisheries regulators.
Globally, small-scale fishermen fishing in their home waters are organizing and working toward better alternatives. They are participating in processes to rebuild fisheries and save the marine ecosystem.
Here in the northwest Atlantic region, it is time for the community based fishermen to come together around a common agenda and declare once and for all that, if we care about the future of the oceans, we need to acknowledge that who fishes matters; where we fish matters; how we fish matters; and, where we sell our fish matters just as much – if not more – than the total allowable catch declared by fisheries managers.
NAMA addresses this ambition through our work with New England fishing communities utilizing interwoven programs for marketing local seafood, advocating for community based management and working to further connect community based fishermen with family farmers. In addition, the growth, health, and reproductive success of fish and therefore the recovery of fisheries depend upon healthy environments. Toxic pollution and climate change pose major threats to fish recovery. NAMA is developing programs that work with fishing communities to identify the problems and work to influence policy changes at local, regional and national levels that will minimize and mitigate the causes and impacts of toxins and climate change.