November 6, 2002
Mass Fishermen’s Partnership Challenges Fisheries Science:
- Calls for Peer Review of the Science
GLOUCESTER – The Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership (MFP) will
challenge NOAA Fisheries science and call for an independent peer review of
the latest Northeast fisheries assessment report.
The Partnership plans to offer a slide presentation entitled Murky Waters:
The Science Behind Fisheries Management and Amendment 13 at the New England
Fishery Management Council meeting at Gloucester High School on Wednesday,
November 6, 2002 and again in selected ports in the following weeks.
Prof. Brian Rothschild, Dean, Intercampus Graduate School of Marine
Sciences and Technology and University of Massachusetts System Director,
School for Marine Science and Technology, University of Massachusetts
Dartmouth, has reviewed the MFP presentation and said, "The Fishermen’s
Partnership raises questions that need to be evaluated by the Northeast
Fisheries Science Task Force."
The Groundfish Assessment Review Meeting (GARM) report from the National
Marine Fisheries Service presents data in such a way as to portray an
unnecessarily dire assessment of the fish stocks. Fishing in New England has
been severely curtailed in recent years to rebuild and husband the resource.
Stock biomass has improved in 19 of 20 stocks since 1995. Fishing
mortality rates declined for 15 of 19 stocks during the same period. This
recovery is significant, and the fishing industry has suffered to achieve it.
Nevertheless, GARM proposes a 50% decrease in fishing to reach new rebuilding
targets. Three different sets of rebuilding targets for New England fish
stocks have been put forth by NOAA Fisheries in the past year.
The Massachusetts Fishermen's Partnership (MFP) is an umbrella
organization of 17 commercial fishing associations representing all gear and
geographic sectors of the Massachusetts fishing industry. The organization
promotes the common interests and economic viability of commercial fishermen
and fishing families.
The MFP joins with industry and congressional leaders in calling for a
two-year delay of Amendment 13 to allow time for a Northeast Fisheries
Science Task Force, including the participation of fishermen, to resolve the
conflicting scientific recommendations and lay a foundation upon which to
build sustainable fisheries management.
Partnership Town Meetings
The Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership Murky Waters presentation will
also be given at two town meetings where members of the public will be able
to ask questions and discuss the issues. The first meeting will be in the
Friends’ Room of the Sawyer Free Library, 2 Dale Avenue, Gloucester, Tuesday,
November 12, at 7:00 p.m. The second town meeting will be at the Whaling
Museum, 18 Johnnycake Hill, New Bedford, on Monday, November 18, at 7:00 p.m.
For more information contact the Partnership at (888) 282-8816.
# # #