New groundfish management system preferred
Pew Environment Group on Monday released the results of a public opinion survey conducted in Maine and Massachusetts showing voter support for a new groundfish management system.
The poll, conducted by Massachusetts research and consulting firm City Square Associates, addressed overfishing and the changes being considered by the New England Fishery Management Council to improve the management of cod, haddock and flounder.
Key findings of the poll include:
- Of the 750 voters surveyed, 66 percent favor a new management system that sets specific annual catch limits based on what the best available science says is necessary to restore fish populations.
- More than three-quarters were aware of overfishing problems in New England and of those, 90 percent think something needs to be done to solve it.
- Voters support a new management system principally so that future generations can enjoy native seafood.
- 44 percent said learning that New England fishermen are forced by law to throw hundreds of pounds of dead fish overboard annually caused them to support the new fisheries management approach.
- A majority said they are in favor of community-based fishermen-run cooperatives.
The will consider various alternatives that will strive to hold those vessels not in sectors to the same standards as sectors - a concept a majority of voters embraced as basic fairness.
The New England Fishery Management Council will vote on the changes to the groundfish management plan its meeting in Portland, Maine, on 22 to 25 June.