New England Groundfish Fishermen Now Held Accountable by On-The-Water Observers
Oceana Applauds NOAA for Establishing 99% Observer Coverage of New England Groundfish Fishery
Press Release Date: December 16, 2021
Location: Washington, DC
WASHINGTON — In a letter to the New England Fishery Management Council on Tuesday, NOAA Fisheries announced that it will require and pay for on-the-water observers for 99% of all fishing trips in the New England groundfish fishery in 2022 (up from current rates of 40%). NOAA Fisheries said this was an interim step as the Council works to finalize its proposed rule (also known as amendment 23 of the New England groundfish fishery management plan), which is expected soon and will require 100% observer coverage of all fishing trips in the fishery.
Oceana, who has been campaigning for these changes for more than a decade, said this level of coverage is critical to ensuring that all the fishery’s catch is counted and accounted for so that accurate limits can be set to properly manage the species.
Oceana applauded the news and released the following statement from senior campaign manager Gib Brogan:
“This is an important victory for the historic New England groundfish fishery, including the chronically overfished Atlantic cod. Finally, there will be some accountability in this fishery, and honest fishermen will stop being undermined by those that refuse to follow the rules. Until this week, monitoring of the fishery has been lax at best, undermining efforts to rebuild and sustainably manage the region’s fish stocks. This is a significant announcement from the agency that validates Oceana’s years of advocacy and finally brings accurate and precise catch information to our fisheries managers so that they can properly manage this struggling fishery. We know that fisheries can recover if we count everything that’s caught, and then set and enforce proper catch limits. This is a major milestone for New England’s fisheries and a great day for U.S. fish conservation.”
Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one-third of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 225 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution, and the killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that 1 billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit USA.Oceana.org to learn more.