Fishermen testify, protest at US fishery council meeting

A group of fishermen and supporters told a meeting of the New England Fisheries Management Council this week that the current policy for managing the region’s fisheries is “broken” and favoring industrialized fishing at the expense of community-based family fishermen.

The participants, all wearing matching orange t-shirts saying “Who Fishes Matters,” and backed by the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, testified before the council regarding, among other problems, the implementation of national catch share policies. The fishermen argued that without “basic protections” in place, the policies will lead to consolidating and privatizating, which is bad for some fishermen who have families that have been fishing in the region for generations.

“My son won’t have a chance to follow in my footsteps and my father’s footsteps,” said Jason Jarvis, a lifelong fisherman from Point Judith, R.I. “We need to stop the consolidation and privatization of the fishery before it’s too late.”

Tim Rider, a fisherman from Saco, Maine, also claimed consolidation undermined ongoing efforts by local fisheries to conserve endangered stocks.

“Over the past 15 years we have taken conservation measures to bring back the fish,” he said. “Now, catch share policies are undoing all the good we did as fisheries access is concentrating into the hands of just a few players, communities are losing their infrastructure, and in the process, the stocks are decimated.”

Many fishermen walked out of the meeting in protest, according to the alliance.


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