New Federal regulations are crippling small fishing businesses in New England. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association has set hard catch limits on groundfish such as cod and haddock, the backbone of the New England fishing industry for centuries. In the past fishermen were limited by number of days at sea, new regulations instead set strict limits to pounds of fish each boat can bring in per year. One fishermen had his allotment set at 15,000 pounds after catching 73,000 pounds in 2009, nearly an 80% decrease.
Don’t worry though, says bureaucrat Maggie Mooney-Seus, it’s for their own good.
“We are going to prevent the stocks from deteriorating,” Mooney-Seus said. “Every measure put in place over the last several years is helping to rebuild the stock. If you talk to fishermen they are saying, ‘I’m seeing more fish out there than I’ve ever seen before.’ ”
Maybe fisherman are seeing the fish and waving at them, but the fishermen themselves seem to have this crazy idea to actually catch fish, sell them, and make a living. Several fishermen in the story have sold their boats or are close to being forced to do so, ending generations-old family businesses. As one Rhode Island fisherman who has already sold his boat said.
“It’s a death knell. It’s the beginning of the end for small fishermen,”
The cities of New Bedford and Gloucester sued the NOAA in federal court to overturn the laws, with predictable results. The Feds said their new laws were just fine, even while admitting the rules would have a:
“negative short-term economic effect on the fishery.”
Only a federal judge could describe crippling small businesses so casually, hey it’s just peoples jobs, right?