Live from Fleet Diversity Workshop!

The conference ended somewhat abruptly with the PDT taking the role of synthesizing the workgroups efforts and sending out a summation via email, which we will post as soon as we get it.

Afternoon update:

The four breakout groups are now reporting on what they came up with for Fleet Diversity goals and measures. There seems to be a consensus that Community Fishing Associations should be developed as a means to address fleet diversity.

Allocation limits are problematic across the board and that more analysis would need to be done to find a way to put any sort of meaningful cap in place.

“Use it or lose it” provisions are getting some support. Dave Goethal refers to them as “Slipper Captains.”

It looks like the meeting is breaking up…analysis later.

Post lunch update:
Interesting that this workgroup is so focused on Community Fishing Associations yet have not even discussed baseline leasing restrictions, owner-operator requirements, and fully dismissed any kind of quota set asides.

Without someone to champion these ideas, they are getting no voice at all.

Hi All! Live from Danvers, MA today we’ll be covering the Fleet Diversity workshop. The NEFMC Groundfish comittee, SSC and Groundfish Advisory committee have been broekn out into four workgroups. I’ll be covering one of them, workgroup 1.

So far, the scuttlebutt is that the council doesn’t want to deal with Fleet Diversity. They want to let the market deal with any issues.

Workgroup One is having a hard time seeing that there is any problem. There has been some productive discussion about Community based organizations as being the answer to fleet diversity. But some of the more vocal members of the group are arguing that there is no problem and therefore nothing should be done, let the markets do their job.

Allocation limits conversation is revolving around the difficulties of doing anything to split out species from permits, permits from sectors etc.,

11:30 AM Update
The morning agenda is:

The group is asked to recommend what goals and objectives should be considered if the
Council pursues an action on fleet diversity.

Topics to consider:

• What social and economic goals and objectives could be considered for fleet
diversity and accumulation limits? 
• Which are desirable for the groundfish fishery?
• Are the current goals in the FMP adequate for addressing fleet diversity and
accumulation limits?
• Should goals for the management plan be consistent through time, or should they
respond to conditions in the fishery?
• The National Standard guidelines prohibit the attainment of excessive shares in a
fishery. What should be considered an “excessive share”?
• How should changes in the fishery be monitored, and are current data sources
adequate? Are there undesirable changes that should be avoided or watched for?

Work Product:

The group should prepare answers to the following questions:
1) Which goals are more important related to diversity and accumulation limits? 
2) What is an excessive share? 
3) Should diversity goals and accumulation limits be responsive to changing industry

The workgroup has focused on Community Fishing Associations as one of of the goals that should be explored to deal with diversity. They largely got hung up on how to deal with excessive shares owning to the difficulty of splitting out permits according to species etc. And lastly, they agree that the Council should include an annual review of these issues as part of the priority setting process.

There is a general sense at this table, even an indignity that this “issue” is even on the table. “Why are we dealing with this?”
“No other fisheries have to deal with this, for example Redcrab!”

The indignity and lack of recognition that there may be a legitimate concern out there is lost on some of the participants here. It has always struck me as very strange that there is such a disconnect from what politicians are saying in public, what we hear from a lot of fishermen and what is happening in the council. Why is that?