Much is Lost With Consolidation

By Shannon Eldredge, guest blogger
Family weir business: Chatham Fisheries, Inc. 

Educator: Cape Cod Maritime Museum Board Member: NAMA & Women of Fishing Families

Note: This letter was addressed to New England fisheries decision-makers regarding Amendment 18 to the groundfish plan. We encourage everyone to join Shannon by submitting your own comments in support of fleet diversity. Click here to learn how.

To the New England Fisheries Management Council,

Fleet diversity is an absolute must in order to sustain the fishing communities that fuel the economy of New England. I oppose no-action under A18 because of this reason. If the fleet continues toward a path of consolidation, JOBS will be LOST, infrastructure will fall giving way to coastal ghost towns, shore-side support industries will be negatively impacted (including marine service businesses, boat builders, ice making companies, rope & net suppliers), and a secure food system of local fish to its community will be essentially ERASED.

I care because I am an educator, teaching the importance of marine trades, small-boat sustainable fisheries, and bio-diversity in our oceans to children on Cape Cod.

Shannon gives testimony at an A18 public hearing in Hyannis, MA January 26, 2012

I care because I live in a fishing village, and my family owns & operates an off-loading facility that has seen a dramatic decline in activity over the last decade.

I care because I fished my way through college, and want children growing up in my community to have the opportunity to do the same, if not own a boat & permits to make a living from the sea, and provide for their own families as they grow & mature.

Shannon (left) and her family

I care because I EAT FISH that is caught by my hard-working friends, family and neighbors. Who these people are matters.

I recommend the council take into consideration the great number of people that will be affected by a few decision-makers–YOUR decisions. I recommend the council weigh the impacts on future generations in coastal communities. I recommend the council think about WHO caught the fish that lands on your dinner plate, in your community market.

When you make these decisions, picture in your mind what my community of Chatham, or Hyannis & Barnstable would look like if the fleet became increasingly consolidated. Include fleet diversity in A18 in order to prevent a wide-spread community economic depression across the New England coastline.

Thank you,

Shannon Eldredge 

Thank you Shannon for sharing your comments. We encourage everyone who, like Shannon believes fleet diversity matters, to submit your own comments as part of a public comment period. Click HERE for help on e-mail comments. Every comment counts!