Newsletter Archives


  • Summer is here and our latest newsletter is hot off the press. Trending this month is: our collaborative working model; the Seafood Bill (aka Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act); student-led food activism that is changing the seafood market; climate change impacts; and a long line up of exciting summer events!

  • Our latest newsletter has an update on fisheries privatizatoin, and is packed with action opportunities including an opportunity to sign onto a letter to NOAA on seafood certification, a tribute to fisheries advocate Father Thomas Kocherry, and much more.

  • A real Revol-Oceanary was lost when the Malaysian airliner disappeared. Read about Chandrika Sharma, our work with the healthcare sector, and other updates in our latest newsletter.

  • Our January newsletter's full of good stuff! Check it out.

    January newsletter: Check out the latest news in NAMA's work to transform markets, influence policy, and build community around support for community-based fisheries.January newsletter: Check out the latest news in NAMA's work to transform markets, influence policy, and build community around support for community-based fisheries. 

     

  • Our 13 favorite wins of 2013, and more in our latest newsletter. Check it out!

  • Haley House Cafe Puts on a Family Style Seafood ThrowdownHaley House Cafe Puts on a Family Style Seafood ThrowdownMost people take it easy in August; we ramp things up! Check out our latest newsletter about how we're making high impact, having family style events, reaching markets, policy makers and the public through and tracking down dogfish!

  • Check out our latest newsletter introducing you to our new team members, saying goodbye to old ones, updates on a whole host of fronts including Too Big To Ignore conference in Vancouver, Food Solutions New England's NE Food Summit in Portland, FARNET's gathering in Stockholm, upcoming events, recent blogs, and much more.

  • Slow Food USA Leadership Meeting in New OrleansSlow Food USA Leadership Meeting in New OrleansAs fishermen from Alaska to Maine gear up for the season, NAMA is, too. Our Seafood Throwdowns kick off later this week in Providence, Rhode Island, and the summer is full of festivals and events like celebrating local fish and fishing communities, as well as our local food, farmers, chefs and of course the consumers who have the power to use their spending habits to change fisheries policies. Join us and dig in!

  • After hearing about mischaracterization of our work that was affecting the safety and comfort of the fishermen we work with, we felt it was important to set the record straight. Read more.

  • It's hard to send greetigs without acknowledgeing that so many peole are suffering around the world. Here in the greater Boston area, many are still reeling from last week's violence. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected, and all of you who may be living with violence in some way. We hope this spring brings peaceful new beginnings to all our friends around the globe.
    We're getting ready for a busy season in all areas of our work, from consumer outreach to the policy changes we've been pushing for. Read on to find out what NAMA is up to - and how you can get involved in our work supporting small-scale, community-based fisheries so the ocean can have a future.

  • The message from the Who Fishes Matters Tour was pretty clear: Fish grabs and consolidation of fisheries access into a few hands is a real and urgent problem; Safeguards to protect small business fishermen and ensure a more diverse fleet that includes small, medium, and large scale is the solution; Solutions must address the current short term crisis; and, We need to act now before it's too late. Read more in our recent newsletter and check out the new video from the Center for Investigative Reporting that further supports what we've heard so far.

  • What are the Commons? How did we go from Garrett Hardin’s message in The Tragedy of the Commons to privatization, consolidation, concentration and marginzalization of the fish and fishermen? And what is the connection between the commons, fleet diversity, fishing communities and marine protection? Read our latest newsletter to find out. 

  • We keep getting told food sovereignty, justice and system activist don't belong in the fisheries management conversation. We disagree. Find out why the future of our ocean and fisheries is everyone's business. Check out our latest newsletter.

  • Boston Fish PartyBoston Fish Party

    A 70+ year prohibition on sale of locally caught seafood is lifted in Boston! And we were there to enjoy the moment along with Mayor Menino and others. Also in this edition, the fleet diversity results are in and those in favor outweighed those pushing for consolidation by 5 to 1, and our first marine science review. Check out our latest newsletter to get the details.

  • By Brett Tolley

    NAMA's Community Organizer


    A fisherman recently told me he paid $.80 per pound to lease fish quota, or the rights to catch fish. That same day he only got paid 60 cents per pound when he landed the fish at the dock.


    He actually went into the red.


    And the worst part, he said, was knowing how that fish would end up being sold somewhere for $8-15 per pound to a customer who would believe a large chunk of that price went into the fisherman's pocket. "They will never know I lost money to catch and deliver that fish," he said. I wish they knew because if they did know, I'm certain our policies and discussions about 'sustainably' caught fish would be quite different.


    Family fishers increasingly feel the squeeze from all sides; markets that do not pay a price to cover the true cost of overhead, policies that place disproportionate hardships on the small and medium scale fishing operations, and unpredictable as weather stock assessments. All these challenges lead to shrinking profit margins, fishers taking on more risk and debt, and forcing many to either scale-up and catch more fish or sell out. If we are serious about protecting the ocean and rebuilding fish stocks scaling up is not the way.

     

    (Click here to read the full newsletter)

  •  

    By Niaz Dorry
    NAMA's Coordinating Director
    I'm starting a fast on Monday, March 5th as part of the Fast for Fair Food in solidarity with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a community-based organization of mainly Latino, Mayan Indian and Haitian immigrants working in low-wage jobs throughout the state of Florida. 
     
    Last time I fasted for a political reason was in 1992. I was living along the Ohio River in Chester, West Virginia; working with community advocates fighting the WTI Incinerator, the world’s largest toxic waste incinerator located across the river in East Liverpool, Ohio. For 44 days the work, not food, is what fed my body. I know the experience was spiritually and physically significant for all 25 of us who took part. Personally, I was humbled by the experience and knowing so many of my heroes had endured much more grueling fasts and hunger strikes to bring an end to injustices around the world.
     
    Twenty years later, I find myself moved to fast again. I'm inspired by the work CIW and others are doing to bring justice to our food system. (Click here to read the whole newsletter)

     

     

  • Fisherman Mike PrattFisherman Mike PrattFisherman Michael Pratt (right) from Green Harbor, Massachusetts wrote the piece below as part of his testimony to the New England Fisheries Management Council for the fleet diversity Amendment 18 Scoping hearings. Ten scoping hearings took place around New England to gather public input on the proposed Amendment 18 which aims to deal with fleet diversity and concentration of quota ownership. Click to watch Michael's testimony. Also see fisherman Ron Borjeson and fisherman Alex Friedman offer similar testimony during two other Amendment 18 Scoping hearings.


    With their permission, we will be featuring the testimonies of fishermen and women during the scoping process on our blog - http://whofishesmatters.blogspot.com/. (Click here to read the full newsletter)

  • By Niaz Dorry - NAMA's Coordinating Director

    ...well, we really only need the money and the lawyers! You can keep the guns. We're non-violent. And, we've had enough gun encounters to last us a while.

    I was all ready to send you a decked out newsletter, but then read the most recent blog by our community organizer, Brett Tolley. He writes about how being held up at gunpoint recently taught him about the value of our work connecting fisheries to the broader food justice movement. To say his words inspired me would be an understatement. What was equally inspiring was a comment left by a reader telling Brett "If everyone confronted with violence was as clear-eyed as you were in this situation, the violence would not get passed on so often as it does. Thanks for your perspective -- and may we all keep the big picture in mind as we are confronted by personal and systemic violence."

    So instead of sending the original newsletter, I decided to send you Brett's blog. I don't expect all of you to cry like I did reading it, but I hope it moves you. You can follow our blog by visiting http://whofishesmatters.blogspot.com, but I'll spare you a step this time as I've added Brett's blog below.

    Oh, and why do we need lawyers and money? Like for the rest of the world, these are lean times for NAMA. Please consider supporting our work by making a donation today. And, as for lawyers, we are making great headway on the Fleet Diversity front. Currently we are working with fishing communities around New England to develop alternatives for an Amendment that may shape the future of New England fisheries. To do this work justice, we'll need some legal analysis. So if you or someone you know has background in environmental law and wants to put it to good use by offering some pro-bono help to our work on fisheries policies, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

    Now, get a box of tissue and enjoy Brett's blog. (Click here to read the full newsletter)

  • These days it seems everyone is telling us what should matter to us. One ad tells us “where you book [our travels] matters” and another that “taste matters.” For us right now, knowing you support our work really matters. In fact, your support and that of our new partners and collaborators really mattered last week when the work to stop consolidation and concentration of fishing power cleared a major hurdle.

    To read the entire newsletter please click here.

  • Happy Earth Day! To celebrate, this year once again NAMA is teaming up with Nourish Restaurant for an evening of local seafood and local fishermen. We hear a lot about Farm to School, Farm to Table, Thank Your Farmer and all kinds of events and initiatives focused on our land-based food system and appreciation for our farmers. But we hardly see that focus on our marine based food system and thanking our fishermen. That's changing. And, this dinner is one way of doing that. Don't miss out because seats are limited. Make your reservation today by clicking on this link!

    To continue reading this newsletter please click here.

  • A Year End Message From NAMA Staff

     At NAMA we feel lucky to be able to work amongst and amidst people who are passionate and caring about healthy oceans. From the Fish Locally Collaborative folks who help guide our every step to the fishermen, community and food activists who have come together to embrace new ideas such as Community Supported Fisheries. We really feel that despite knowing that there are significant challenges in the coming year, the work that is being done will lead us to the kind of healthy ocean and healthy communities we all value.

     

  • If we care about the health of our oceans, fishing communities, and our food system, then who fishes matters. BG Brown Gloucester, MA FishermanBG Brown Gloucester, MA FishermanBut fisheries policies and regulations don’t reflect this and we’re working to change that.

    In New England, the groundfish fishery is transitioning into a new ‘Catch Share’ management system, with its promises to improve ecological stewardship of our oceans. However, we know that uncontrolled ‘Catch Share’ programs haven’t taken into account who actually fishes for our seafood.

    To continue reading please CLICK HERE.

  • Gaddus Marhua: CodGaddus Marhua: CodOver the past year, our work with the Cape Ann Fresh Catch Community Supported Fishery (CSF) has stirred up some controversy. The CSF has been delivering a lot of cod to the shareholders. Considering all the news about cod we are not surprised by all the questions which have provided us with a chance to talk about a concept NAMA and many fishermen and fishing community organizations we have been working with have been advocating for quite a few years: finer scale management of fisheries. But what does that mean?

  • Images from the Gulf of Mexico’s oil gush are heartbreaking. The decision to drill for oil and the subsequent disaster are supposedly acceptable in order to get us fuel the most economically efficient way. We are now seeing the real cost of cheap fuel. Same economic efficiency definition was used to consolidate our land based food system leading to economic, ecological, health and community costs. Today, economic efficiency is being used to advocate for consolidation of the fishing industry. What will that cost us? It’s time to look at the real cost of economic efficiency before we lose any more human and natural resources. Read more in this month’s NAMA newsletter and take action.

  • Ensuring a future for fishermen without compromising the health of the ocean requires vision. In New England, policies have been put into place in the absence of a vision. The New England Fishery Management Council is now ready to talk about a broad vision into which their decisions would fit. Instead of recreating the wheel, NAMA is encouraging the Council to adopt the vision nearly 300 New England fishermen and other stakeholders arrived at during a 3-year visioning process.

  • National Ocean and Fisheries Policies: Trickle Up or Trickle Down?

    By Boyce Thorne MillerBy Boyce Thorne Miller"Fire! Aim! Ready!" A quote attributed to Gloucester fisherman Vito Giacalone in reference to fisheries management in New England, handily describes the processes to develop national policies and their regional implementation strategies -- "Fire! Aim! Ready!" Without a carefully selected target, 'ready' and 'aim' efforts are useless anyway, and we are left with firing at random with no guarantee that the intended targets will be reached. A chaotic battleground is hardly new for fisheries, but we would like to hope new policies and management under the Obama Administration can move away from that scene rather than perpetuate it.

  • Saving the oceans doesn't have to lead to putting fishermen out of work. In fact, if we spend our resources, stimulus funds, and overall energy ensuring fisheries policies are community and ecosystem based, we can actually save the fish and create more jobs in coastal fishing communities.

  • One's taste for seafood is often dictated by culture, geography, religion, tradition, income, and, of course, taste. Whatever your reason for wanting seafood, we at NAMA are not a big fan of declaring any specific seafood "green." Too often many factors that can help determine the "green-ness" of seafood are ignored in the attempt to make it easier for us to make purchasing decisions at the cost of the oceans and those who catch the seafood we eat.

Newsletter Document Archive (PDF)

  • Fleet Diversity Gains Traction - NAMA Newsletter Decmber 2010

    A critical step forward in the battle to save the community-based fleet took place two weeks ago when the New England Fisheries Management Council voted to address fleet diversity as a priority in the upcoming year. This marks a sea-change of sorts considering Fleet Diversity was off the council’s radar as recently as last spring. The change is the direct result of many of you choosing to weigh in through your signature, testimonies and other means.

    The vote marks a culmination of efforts by NAMA and our partners including fishermen, food system activists, community advocates, A diverse fleet is essential for healthy oceans.A diverse fleet is essential for healthy oceans.and non-profit allies who traveled to testify, recorded video, signed our petition, and spread the message that ‘Who Fishes Matters’. Together, we worked to ensure family based fishermen and fishing communities are fairly represented and protected in the new Catch Share regime. We are forging the path toward a shared Fleet Vision and now look to the challenges ahead.

    The vote also marks the beginning of a much more difficult and perhaps protracted battle: How do you define Fleet Diversity? And how do you achieve fleet diversity? Based on the Fleet Vision Project, which has a clear vision statement on Fleet Diversity, and evidence from other Catch Share programs the measures we feel will ensure the diversity of the fleet include: fishing quota set-asides that invest in fishing communities, leasing policies that foster an affordable fishery, owner-operator incentives, opportunities for new and/or younger fishermen to enter the fishery, and accumulation limits.

    Each of these measures tackles a different aspect of a diverse fleet and ultimately will ensure an ecologically viable and sustainable ecosystem supporting an economically and socially just fishery. However no single measure in and of itself will work to ensure a diverse fleet.

    Allocation caps are a proven means to prevent the kinds of consolidation that are a hallmark of Catch Share programs, the most egregious examCape Cod Hook Fishermen's CSFCape Cod Hook Fishermen's CSFple being the Mid Atlantic Ocean Quahog/Surf Clam fishery where uncontrolled consolidation resulted in around 90% of all permits being owned by two banks. Quota owners were effectively able to control how, when and how much fish was brought to shore and the price paid to the fishermen. This was also the case in some of the Alaska crab fisheries. Allocation caps simply prevent one person, corporation, or entity from gaining unfair leverage over markets, pricing, and the political process.

    Policies addressing leasing of fishing rights should foster an affordable fishery not one where leasing leads to consolidation of the fishing fleet and aggregation of fishing rights by a few fiscally-powerful players. Leasing restrictions existed under the previous management system called Days at Sea, which effectively controlled the flow of leasing between classes of boat sizes. For example, a 90ft. boat could not lease from a 40ft boat. Currently there is no such leasing policy under Catch Share management. Such policies can help protect a diverse fleet as well as maintain the cost of leasing at an affordable rate. The key is to design such policies with an eye toward preventing gross consolidation and concentration of fishing power while at the same time allowing enough flexibility for fishermen to trade fishing quota as necessary, and enter and leave the fishery without devaluing their permits.

    • Fishing quota set asides can be used for any number of purposes:
    • Ensuring younger fishermen have an opportunity to enter the fishery.
    • Enabling Owner/operators, crew and captains to maintain reliability and dedication to stewardship and safe fishing standards while providing security.    
    • Quota set aside for adaptive management to enable adjustments to new scientific information and thereby helps achieve ecosystem goals.  
    • Conservation set-asides to reward ecologically sound fishing practices with additional quota (not to exceed accumulation limits).  
    • Research set-asides, which are already options in the New England management system should remain so.

    Lastly, owner-operator incentives are a way to ensure that fishermen are the primary holders of permits as opposed to banks, financial speculators and absentee quota holders. Other Catch Share programs with no owner-operator incentives resulted in a “tenant” fishery, where the majority of permit owners lease their rights to fish and the majority of fishermen on the ocean rent their rights to fish. Experience tells us that a sea-tenant fishery undermines community values and ocean stewardship. Fishes and LoavesFishes and Loaves

    The above measures are just a few and we are actively working with and learning from communities who have adopted similar or additional measures to ensure fleet diversity. None of these measures in and of themselves will prevent excessive fleet consolidation. In fact, in many Catch Share programs where only one or a couple measures are put in place industrial fishing operations have been able to sidestep the restrictions. In the worst-case scenario, such as the Ocean Quahog/Surf Clam, fishery managers are now trying to retrospectively clean up the mess. We can learn from others’ mistakes.

    Here in New England the NEFMC has the opportunity to be proactive, ensure we don’t head down the same road as the Ocean Quahog/Surf Clam, and their recent vote was an important step forward to secure a just and sustainable fishery, but much work remains. We’ll be looking for more testimonies, video or in-person, to support maintaining and preserving a diverse fleet and moving towards a shared fleet vision.

  • Fleet Diversity Gains Traction - NEFMC Votes to Make Fleet Diversity a Priority in 2011

    A critical step forward in the battle to save the community-based fleet took place two weeks ago when the New England Fisheries Management Council voted to address fleet diversity as a priority in the upcoming year. This marks a sea-change of sorts considering Fleet Diversity was off the council’s radar as recently as last spring. The change is the direct result of many of you choosing to weigh in through your signature, testimonies and other means.

    The vote marks a culmination of efforts by NAMA and our partners including fishermen, food system activists, community advocates, and non-profit allies who traveled to testify, recorded video, signed our petition, and spread the message that ‘Who Fishes Matters’.A diverse fleet is essential for healthy oceans.: Photo by Niaz DorryA diverse fleet is essential for healthy oceans.: Photo by Niaz Dorry Together, we worked to ensure family based fishermen and fishing communities are fairly represented and protected in the new Catch Share regime. We are forging the path toward a shared Fleet Vision and now look to the challenges ahead.

    The vote also marks the beginning of a much more difficult and perhaps protracted battle: How do you define Fleet Diversity? And how do you achieve fleet diversity? Based on the Fleet Vision Project, which has a clear vision statement on Fleet Diversity, and evidence from other Catch Share programs the measures we feel will ensure the diversity of the fleet include: fishing quota set-asides that invest in fishing communities, leasing policies that foster an affordable fishery, owner-operator incentives, opportunities for new and/or younger fishermen to enter the fishery, and accumulation limits.

    Each of these measures tackles a different aspect of a diverse fleet and ultimately will ensure an ecologically viable and sustainable ecosystem supporting an economically and socially just fishery. However no single measure in and of itself will work to ensure a diverse fleet.

    Cape Cod Hook Fishermens CSFCape Cod Hook Fishermens CSFAllocation caps are a proven means to prevent the kinds of consolidation that are a hallmark of Catch Share programs, the most egregious example being the Mid Atlantic Ocean Quahog/Surf Clam fishery where uncontrolled consolidation resulted in around 90% of all permits being owned by two banks. Quota owners were effectively able to control how, when and how much fish was brought to shore and the price paid to the fishermen. This was also the case in some of the Alaska crab fisheries. Allocation caps simply prevent one person, corporation, or entity from gaining unfair leverage over markets, pricing, and the political process.

    Policies addressing leasing of fishing rights should foster an affordable fishery not one where leasing leads to consolidation of the fishing fleet and aggregation of fishing rights by a few fiscally-powerful players. Leasing restrictions existed under the previous management system called Days at Sea, which effectively controlled the flow of leasing between classes of boat sizes. For example, a 90ft. boat could not lease from a 40ft boat. Currently there is no such leasing policy under Catch Share management. Such policies can help protect a diverse fleet as well as maintain the cost of leasing at an affordable rate. The key is to design such policies with an eye toward preventing gross consolidation and concentration of fishing power while at the same time allowing enough flexibility for fishermen to trade fishing quota as necessary, and enter and leave the fishery without devaluing their permits.

    • Fishing quota set asides can be used for any number of purposes:
    • Ensuring younger fishermen have an opportunity to enter the fishery.
    • Enabling Owner/operators, crew and captains to maintain reliability and dedication to stewardship and safe fishing standards while providing security.    
    • Quota set aside for adaptive management to enable adjustments to new scientific information and thereby helps achieve ecosystem goals.  
    • Conservation set-asides to reward ecologically sound fishing practices with additional quota (not to exceed accumulation limits).  
    • Research set-asides, which are already options in the New England management system should remain so.

    Lastly, owner-operator incentives are a way to ensure that fishermen are the primary holders of permits as opposed to banks, financial speculators and absentee quota holders. Other Catch Share programs with no owner-operator incentives resulted in a “tenant” fishery, where the majority of permit owners lease their rights to fish and the majority of fishermen on the ocean rent their rights to fish. Experience tells us that a sea-tenant fishery undermines community values and ocean stewardship.

    The above measures are just a few and we are actively working with and learning from communities who have adopted similar or additional measures to ensure fleet diversity. None of these measures in and of themselves will prevent excessive fleet consolidation. In fact, in many Catch Share programs where only one or a couple measures are put in place industrial fishing operations have been able to sidestep the restrictions. In the worst-case scenario, such as the Ocean Quahog/Surf Clam, fishery managers are now trying to retrospectively clean up the mess. We can learn from others’ mistakes.

    Here in New England the NEFMC has the opportunity to be proactive, ensure we don’t head down the same road as the Ocean Quahog/Surf Clam, and their recent vote was an important step forward to secure a just and sustainable fishery, but much work remains. We’ll be looking for more testimonies, video or in-person, to support maintaining and preserving a diverse fleet and moving towards a shared fleet vision.

    Click here to return to NAMA December 2010 Newsletter

  • Who Fishes Matters - Preserving the health of the oceans, fishing communities and our food system.

    If we care about the health of our oceans, fishing communities, and our food system, then who fishes matters. BG Brown Gloucester, MA FishermanBG Brown Gloucester, MA FishermanBut fisheries policies and regulations don’t reflect this and we’re working to change that.

    In New England, the groundfish fishery is transitioning into a new ‘Catch Share’ management system, with its promises to improve ecological stewardship of our oceans. However, we know that uncontrolled ‘Catch Share’ programs haven’t taken into account who actually fishes for our seafood. Instead, around the world Catch Shares have consolidated the fishing industry into monolithic, industrial scale, absentee owner fishing fleets. We believe this direction undermines communities, ecosystems, and our food system.

    To continue reading please CLICK HERE.

  • All The King's Horses And All The King's Men

    By Boyce Thorne Miller, NAMA's Science and Policy Coordinator

    For NAMA Newsletter, June 15, 2010

    Make no mistake; the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem is broken, perhaps beyond repair – certainly beyond our ability to repair it. If somehow the shattered pieces come back together again, it’s pretty certain it won’t look or function like it did before the spill. Many who don’t live along the Gulf coast will probably have forgotten what that was like anyway. But those Louisianans, Arkansans, Mississippians, Alabamans, and Floridians, Texans (and perhaps others) whose health, livelihoods, and happiness are destroyed by this event will not soon forget. Can we help our fellow fishing communities? Can we prevent similar disasters from happening in the future – there and here?

    A vision for the future, along with a clear vision of the past might help.

    It’s almost impossible for us to comprehend what is happening in the Gulf. Even those who live there must rely on television and the internet to expose the shear magnitude – the depth, breadth, and non-stop gush of oil, the windrows of petrol-gunk, the struggling and dead birds, and models that depict the drift of underwater plumes. But while the images are ephemeral, the oil is not. We may never know the full scope of damage nor ever see what’s happening to the diversity of life beneath the sea-surface. In this, as in so many of our overachievements, man is powerless to stop what he has wrought.

    Image courtesy of the EPAImage courtesy of the EPA

    To add insult to injury, the government and BP insist on presenting us with information like how much of the Gulf is still open to fishing, how many boats and booms have been deployed, how fishermen are earning money as BP hires them for response efforts (not mentioned, at the expense of their health). We should not tolerate such spin put on such a grave situation.

    Does memory already fail us? The history of ecological trauma in the Gulf of Mexico does not begin with this oil spill. There was already a large lifeless hypoxic area (deprived of oxygen) fanning out seasonally in bottom waters at the mouth of the Mississippi River. One can only wonder what synergism may be occurring between that and the oil drifting shoreward. And many years of daily inundation of petrochemical tainted tides, rain and air have taken major tolls on bayous and other wetlands -- the result of emissions from a variety of oil-based industries on the Gulf. More than half the Gulf’s productive wetlands were already lost to draining, dredging, logging and development, and now this oil. Do we have any idea what the Gulf and its ecosystems were like long ago when they were truly healthy and diverse? Some historians and natural historians do, and it’s something to strive to recover. We must hold on to our history if we are ever to know how to envision our future.

    How easily we adjust to the slippery slope of ecological decline. It’s all around us and we simply adapt. But before we adapt we should learn to anticipate and avoid.
    There isn’t a contingency plan on earth that can recover more than about 10 percent of an oil spill. And if it includes dispersants, the recovery rate is even lower. So it’s time to stop blaming over the failure of an appropriate response and start complaining about the failure of prevention!

    We should ask our legislators, regulators, fisheries managers and the like to work with citizens to develop a clear vision of what we want our communities, our land and our seas to look like in the future and to find fair and effective ways to get there using the best knowledge-base available. If we demand that, however, we must also take on the responsibility of adjusting our own personal lifestyles to help make it happen. Yes, the government has to change the way it operates; but we have to change the way we live in order to preserve or achieve the diversity of life and thriving communities we value. That may be the hardest part of all.

    Behavior change doesn’t end with energy conservation and reduced oil consumption, which is a big enough job. We also must reevaluate our use of manufactured chemicals, how we farm, how we build cities, and how we use the ocean. Fishermen, who rely on healthy fish populations, understand the consequences all too well, for the ocean receives the outfall of all bad environmental decisions. If we needed proof that humans are part of the marine ecosystem as well as the land, the Deepwater Horizon has provided it. We must realize we can’t put complex things like the Gulf of Mexico ecosystems back together again, even with the help of all the king’s horses and all the king’s men. We have to prevent them from breaking in the first place.

    CLICK HERE to return to the NAMA Newsletter

  • Nostalgia for a Better Future

    By Sean Sullivan, NAMA's Development, Marketing and Outreach Associate

    For NAMA Newsletter, June 15, 2010

    It could have been that magic moment when a sea worm on a hook lowered into the sea results in a shiny wondrous living fish flopping around on the dock. Or it could have been a deep affection for the proud nosed workboats that cluttered the harbor in my youth, each telling a story by their wear and tear and the condition of their paint. It could have been one of those moments or a collection of a thousand fleeting glances at the ocean, a seemingly involuntary need to see it each day and register its temper.

    I still don’t know how or why the ocean gets into one’s blood, but I do know when it gets there it stays there. During my college years, living in Portland, OR, a true deepwater port but 100 miles from the ocean proper, a constant longing for the intimate shores of the New England coast dwelled within me. It pained my mother to hear that I missed the ocean more than her cooking.

    Like many who live and work with or near the ocean, I tend to think of the ocean as a living thing, which sounds obvious to say, but I mean it, as the young are wont to say, as my BFF, or Best Friend Forever.
    Old Marblehead: Image courtesy of NOAAOld Marblehead: Image courtesy of NOAA

    Growing up fishing the shores of Salem Sound I saw the end of the Russian factory ships that hovered outside Gloucester Harbor scooping up anything and everything from the ocean. I saw Cod disappear and now take pleasure in their return to numbers. I never even knew what a wonderful fish the Striped Bass was as a child, and now they are back in their place in the ecosystem.

    I have also watched as year after year the number of fishing boats in my homeport of Marblehead dwindled. Like their prey under the waters their numbers have ebbed as fish became scarce and regulations became plentiful. Along with the dwindling fleet comes a more subtle yet pernicious loss to the culture of the town, the loss of a connection to our surroundings that not only is part of our history, but should be part of our present and future. And, for me, most troubling is that the local market, not 200 yards from the fish pier, sells cod and haddock from Iceland.

    NAMA likes to ask the question, “If we truly care about the health of our oceans does it matter how, where and when we fish; and, who catches the fish that end up on our dinner plates?” Of course we believe the answer is a resounding yes. It is one of those questions that are just beyond rhetorical, as most people will answer, “yes”. It is really the consequences of answering “yes” that is the purpose of the question.

    Once you admit you care, don’t you have to do something about it? If you answer the question “Yes” do you still buy the cod and haddock from Iceland that is at least a week old – and even worse, its not any cheaper than you could get locally caught much more fresh fish? If you answer, “Yes” don’t you have to value a fresh local product more than a lower quality imported one?

    Despite the problems, there is a sea change happening. People who care about their food are starting to include seafood in the discussion. Cod stocks are rebounding in many of the inshore areas that our local day-boat fishermen can find them. In fact, fishermen are more concerned now about catching their quota too quickly than about any lack of fish. Also, in what seems like an obvious step, regulators are now no longer requiring fishermen to throw their “by-catch” overboard. Fishermen are happy about this. They never wanted to kill anything from the ocean they could not land.

    CSF’s are showing that people care about seafood. CSF members literally gush about how good fresh locally caught fish is, and revel in their experiences eating fish that are almost impossible to find at the local markets (even the best fishmongers are not carrying Redfish, a local stock well rebuilt, great for grilling, excellent tasty white flesh).

    All of these things are positive steps but there is still a lot of work to be done. Concerned locavores (those who prefer their foods to be locally grown) are asking the hard questions about sustainability and gear types, things most consumers would not think of asking even a few years ago. The answers are not black and white (or the only slightly less oversimplified red, yellow and green). The answers are far more subtle and nuanced. Finding ways to get this message out will take time and co-operation from fishermen, shore-side workers and consumers.

    For example, yes, some Atlantic Cod stocks are still in deep trouble, however our local Western Gulf of Maine stocks are expected to be listed as fully rebuilt in the coming years. Yes trawl gear can harm the ocean floor, but does that necessarily make trawl fishing a bad gear type? Again the answer requires developing an understanding of how fishermen have modified their gear to not only limit by-catch and reduce damage to the ocean bottom, but to effectively catch a targeted species quickly resulting in higher quality.

    The latest bogeyman for fishermen are new rules that aim to reduce the fleet even further, and are likely to end up consolidating the fleet. If that doesn’t sound too bad, think what has happened to our family farms. Do you really want multi-national corporations being the stewards of our local seafood?

    As people learn more, hopefully they will see that just outside our doors is one of the most precious resources in the world: a source of healthy, wild food. (You know how many people in the world would kill to be able to say that?) And maybe, because they care about their food, and they care about their communities they will start demanding that the local store buy fish from local dealers, that the town’s maintain the infrastructure that allows a day boat fishermen to land his catch in Marblehead. And maybe again someday the harbors will be filled with freshly painted colorful fishing boats, their noses pointing into the wind proudly and defiantly announcing that we are a people that are part of our environment.

    CLICK HERE to return to the NAMA Newsletter

  • No Consolidation Without Vision - Take Action Now

    If we truly care about our oceans and our fisheries, then “WHO” fishes matters! The New England Fisheries Management Council has made clear that fleet reduction is a priority in order to reduce total catch. However, a Council vision for who stays and who goes is absent. We learned from the experience of US farm policy that consolidation without a vision resulted in large-scale factory farming corporations driving out family farmers and degrading the land based environment, biodiversity, and security of the food system in this country. As it did this, it also destroyed the fabric and vitality of farming communities in the heartland.

    Consolidation without a vision could result in a small fleet of homogenous large-scale boats that fish from only a few ports and use a narrow range of gear types, scale and sizes. We know fisheries around world that have consolidated without a vision didn’t achieve the ecological outcomes promised during the process.

    The Council needs a vision that reflects what we have learned to date so we do not repeat the same mistakes again.

    The New England community has a Vision for “Who” should fish. Over a two-year visioning process, a diverse group of commercial and recreational fishermen from all geographical areas, boat sizes, and gear types came together with scientists, fisheries advocates, community members and shore-side businesses to create a long-term vision for the fleet. One of the participating fishermen said the Fleet Vision Project was as comprehensive and detailed an effort as New England had ever seen. The Vision for a diverse fleet states:

    “A geographically distributed commercial and recreational fleet that includes all gear types and boat sizes. Clearly the community values and understands the need for many different boat sizes and gear types that provide diverse products to markets. The community strongly dislikes the possibility of a fleet that is consolidated either by ownership or geography, and participants in this project advocate many jobs and coastal community welfare over economic efficiency.”

    Tell Council that you support the Fleet Vision Project that calls for a diverse fleet by taking the PLEDGE. NAMA along with a team of fishermen and non-fishermen will be carrying your message to the Council this June 23. We need your support!

    -Brett Tolley

  • No Consolidation Without Vision - Take Action Now!

     


    by Brett Tolley - NAMA's Community Organizer

    For June 15, 2010 NAMA Newsletter

    If we truly care about our oceans and our fisheries, then "WHO" fishes matters! The New England Fisheries Management Council has made clear that fleet reduction is a priority in order to reduce total catch. However, a Council vision for who staysand who goes is absent. We learned from the experience of US farm policy that consolidation without a vision resulted in large-scale factory farming corporations driving out family farmers and degrading the land based environment, biodiversity, and security of the food system in this country. As it did this, it also destroyed the fabric and vitality of farming communities in the heartland.

    Consolidation without a vision could result in a small fleet of homogeneous large-scale boats that fish from only a few ports and use a narrow range of gear types, scale and sizes. We know fisheries around world that have consolidated without a vision didn't achieve the ecological outcomes promised during the process.

    The Council needs a vision that reflects what we have learned to date so we do not repeat the same mistakes again.

    The New England community has a Vision for "Who" should fish. Over a two-year visioning process, a diverse group of commercial and recreational fishermen from all geographical areas, boat sizes, and gear types came together with scientists, fisheries advocates, community members and shore-side businesses to create a long-term vision for the fleet. One of the participating fishermen said the Fleet Vision Project was as comprehensive and detailed an effort as New England had ever seen. The Vision for a diverse fleet states:

    "A geographically distributed commercial and recreational fleet that includes all gear types and boat sizes. Clearly the community values and understands the need for many different boat sizes and gear types that provide diverse products to markets. The community strongly dislikes the possibility of a fleet that is consolidated either by ownership or geography, and participants in this project advocate many jobs and coastal community welfare over economic efficiency."

    Tell Council that you support the Fleet Vision Project that calls for a diverse fleet by taking the PLEDGE
    NAMA along with a team of fishermen and non-fishermen will be carrying
    your message to the Council this June 23. We need your support!

    CLICK HERE to return to the NAMA Newsletter

  • CAFC is at halfway rock and looking beyond . . . read the latest newsletter

     

     

    From the conception of CAFC, where even the most optimistic hoped for 100 members, to the sometimes overwhelming yet insanely gratifying reality that well over 1000 people have joined this noble experiment, it has been a wild ride. And truly the biggest thanks goes to you the CAFC shareholders. Without your support, forbearance and enthusiasm none of this could have happened and all of us at CAFC want to make sure you know just how gratifying it is to be partners with all of you that has exceeded all of our wildest hopes. Not everything has gone perfectly. But rest assured we are listening.

  • Community-Supported Fishery Launched in Gloucester, MA

    Photo courtesy of Chris GarrityPhoto courtesy of Chris Garrity

    From the conception of CAFC, where even the most optimistic hoped for 100 members, to the sometimes overwhelming yet insanely gratifying reality that well over 1000 people have joined this noble experiment, it has been a wild ride. And truly the biggest thanks goes to you the CAFC shareholders. Without your support, forbearance and enthusiasm none of this could have happened and all of us at CAFC want to make sure you know just how gratifying it is to be partners with all of you that has exceeded all of our wildest hopes. Not everything has gone perfectly. But rest assured we are listening.

  • Eat Local Seafood - 2008 Summer Newsletter

    Eat Local Seafood; What is a Community Supported Fishery; Upcoming Sharing the Ocean book signing; Meet the Staff; and, What ever happened to Clean Catch?

  • 2007 Winter Newsletter- 2

    NAMA Parteners with Midcoast Shrimpers in Community Supported Fishery Program, Pendleton Bids Farewell in Letter to his Colleauges and Supporters, Legal Petition Against Midwater Trawling in Groundfish Closed Areas, "Sharing the Ocean" Nears Publication!

  • 2007 Summer Newsletter

    Area management, Letter From Coordinating Director, Maine Legislature resolution, Spring Running, NAMA Round-up, How you can help

  • 2007 Winter Newsletter

    Magnuson Reauthorized, Letter fro the Coordinating Director, Message from the Chairman of the Board, Area Management Coalition, Association of Family Farmers: Craig Pendleton named to Board of National Farmers Alliance- Strengthens Interest of Farmers and Fishermen

  • 2006 Winter Newsletter

    NAMA Provides Humanitarian Relief to Mississippi Commercial Fishermen Impacted by Hurricane Katrina, Letter from Coordinating Director Craig Pendleton, Fleet Vision Project Holds Final Workshop, A Christmas Story- Sometimes Things Happen in Life that Really Make You Wonder, NAMA Awarded $65,000 from the Kendall Foundation, Snow and Allen Thank NAMA for it's Bold Leadership over the Past Decade

  • 2006 Summer Newsletter

    NAMA Awarded Grant to Write Book about the Northeast Fisheries Management Debate; Work will focus on the Power of Personal Narratives in Building a Consensus, Letter from NAMA Chairman Dana Morse, Ecosystem Mapping Project, NAMA's work in Midcoast Maine

  • 2006 Spring Newsletter

    New Zealand: Quotas 20 Years Later, Letter from Coordinating Director Craig Pendleton, Enhancing the Shrimp Market, Mapping Fishing Communities, Curt Rice Joins NAMA Board, Chris Weiner Interns at NAMA

  • 2005 Winter Newsletter

    NAMA Coordinates Tsunami Relief Fund, A letter from Coordinating Director Craig Pendleton, The Fleet Visioning Project - Setting the Stage: Planning, Scheduling, Making it Work, Liz Rettenmaier- Fleet Visioning Project Director, NAMA Teams with Leading Scientists to Harness Fishermen's Knowledge, Western Gulf of Maine Inshore-Fisheries Ecosystems Project, Snapshot: Ecosystem Based Management in the Gulf of Maine, New Grant from the Sudbury Foundation, Introduction to Jen Levin- Director of Operations

  • 2004 Summer Newsletter

    Setting a Course for the Future, NAMA and Collaborative Research Featured on the News, COAA Ecosystem Based Management Project Description, Sea Scallops Re-born, Meet the Intern: Marissa Staples

  • 2003 Fall Newsletter

    The Long Road: NAMA and Amendment 13

  • 2003 Spring Newsletter

    Intern Andrew Hughes Joins NAMA for Map Project, Profile: Advisory Trustee and Cooperative Extension Director - Larry Yee, Outreach: NAMA Gives Students a Glimpse of Life at Sea, Board Votes to Elect New Trustee and Meet Quarterly