Oceans scientist Steve Murawski has got some good news for our fishermen clients in New England: there may be more fish to catch next year. If you remember, many fishermen had to retire their nets because of too few fish.
In an Associated Press report, Murawski heralds the end of overfishing as a result of a new fishing management system in the Northeast. Last year, New England had 10 fishing stocks that were being overfished. Now, two-thirds into the current fishing year, aside from one stock, federal data show that New England fishermen are on target to catch fewer than the allotted number of fish.
“And this isn’t just a decadal milestone, this is a century phenomenon,” Murawski is quoted saying. The story continued that this trend “signals the coming of increasingly healthy stocks and better days for fishermen who’ve suffered financially.”
The regulations call for fishermen to adhere to strict catch limits and to work in groups called sectors. While declaring the end of overfishing is a tad premature, we are enthused: In 2007, Earthjustice began representing local fishermen in Maine and Massachusetts because of the overfishing of herring and groundfish.
A few months ago, Earthjustice attorney Roger Fleming had this to say about New England fisheries: “To rebuild and sustain New England’s legendary groundfish fishery we must comprehensively reform the Atlantic herring fishery.”
According to Murawski, that is precisely why there may be more fish to catch.