Fleet Diversity once again on the docket at NEFMC

by Sean Sullivan, NAMA’s Marketing, Development and Outreach Associate

A lot has changed in a year. A year ago, the New England Fisheries Management Council was not talking about Fleet Diversity. Politicians were not talking about the negative impacts to communities and smaller scale community based fishermen from Catch Shares. The mainstream press and non-mainstream press was not talking about our local seafood as sustainable.

Now, far be it for us to take all the credit for all these things happening, but uh, well, uh, yeah, actually maybe we should tke some credit here. A year ago, NAMA’s Brett Tolley presented the New England Fisheries Management Council’s (NEFMC) Multi-species committee (now called the Groundfish Committee) wth the outcomes of the Fleet Vision Project. One of outcomes he suggested they consider is preserving a diverse fleet. Now almost exactly a year later, the NEFMC has convened a workshop on Fleet Diversity. I cannot guarantee it, but I can say with confidence that if Brett had not championed this issue, there would not be a workshop taking place this week. (Credit for this should go also to the many fishermen, scientists, activists and partners who have all testified over the course of the year that they care “Who Fishes Matters!”).

This workshop will most likely determine which if any protections will be recommended to be put in place to protect a diverse fleet. If you care about preserving a diverse fleet, we’ve created a sign on letter and a petition you can sign to tell the NEFMC that you care about preserving a diverse fleet.