Community Weighs In and Fleet Diversity Moves Forward

 By Brett Tolley, NAMA’s Community Organizer. 

At last week’s Groundfish Committee* meeting we got a BIG VOTE to move the Fleet Diversity policy forward! For any football fans out there, we advanced the ball 10 years closer to the end zone. First down!

The vote approved the Fleet Diversity scoping document despite a few members of the Council and public who stood actively opposed. Council members tried excuses like – there is no current problem. Folks in the audience called Fleet Diversity a waste of time.

Click here to listen to the audio recording from the meeting.

But speaking in support of fleet diversity and accumulation limit measures were a majority of committee members, nearly 200 pledge signers, and a growing public support who believe that Fleet Diversity is NOT a waste of time.

We also had fishermen text messaging into the committee meeting, some from their boats. As part of our Organizing strategy we sent live up-date text messages from the Committee meeting out to 10 fishermen around New England. They texted back and we read their reactions into the mic. TEXTIMONY!

“Fleet diversity should have been addressed before the Amendment 16 was approved. The time is right to now approve the scoping document and move the fleet diversity discussion forward.”
– Steve Welch, Commercial Fisherman, South Shore MA

“As we speak aggressive consolidation is occurring. Move the scoping prcoess forward and address fleet diversity.”
Chuck Etzel, Commercial Fisherman, Montauk NY

To view NAMA’s comments to the committee click here.

The scoping process will allow the public and fishing communtities to guide our managers on these issues moving forward. Click here to read more about the scoping process and Amendment 18 to the Groundfish plan.

Huge thanks to everyone who signed the pledge, wrote letters to the editors, passed the word, and gave us the push we needed. We’re going to be asking for your support again come September, so please be ready. Our next step is to advance the scoping document at the full Council meeting in September and begin the formal scoping process.

Who fishes matters!

*The Groundfish Committee is part of the New England Fisheries Management Council (NEFMC). The Council is one of eight regional Councils established by the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 (since renamed the Magnuson-Stevens Act) The NEFMC manages fishery resources within the federal 200-mile limit off the coasts of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.  Click here to read more.