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September 14, 2000

Our letter to the New England Fishery Management Council on non-fishing impacts

Dear Captain Howard:

The Massachusetts Fishermen's Partnership (MFP) requests that the Council create a new habitat sub-committee to study non-fishing impacts. This sub-committee would be charge with a review of the extensive literature available on the effects on fish reproduction from non-fishing impacts on habitat and to help the Habitat Committee identify research that is needed to better understand these non-fishing impacts.

The MFP is aware of recent international meetings of scientist studying non-fishing impacts on marine habitats and fish reproductions. For example, a consensus report from a meeting of Canadian and NOAA scientists, Georges Bank and TRAC Advisory Report on Stock Status, July 2000 makes the following statement about Georges Bank cod on page 9:

"Although at a low biomass the stock is not overfished and overfishing is not occurring according to the SFA harvest control rule"...nevertheless, "the sizes of recruiting year classes have all been well below average."

Clearly there is something happening that fishermen and fishery managers need to understand in order to make sound management decisions. The MFP strongly recommends that a sub-committee be created and staffed to study this disturbing trend.

Thank you for your consideration.

Truly yours,
Alexander Ferent, President

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