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All Things Considered
Measuring around 18 miles long, New Hampshire has the smallest shoreline of all coastal states. But for about 400 years, it’s been enough to support small boat fishermen in the Seacoast region. They make their livings cruising New England’s waters for cod, lobster, shrimp and other stocks.For decades, the industry’s been challenged by declining populations of fish and shellfish, as well as changing federal regulations. As of 2010, New England fishermen are allowed to catch a set poundage of fish based on their take over a 10-year span. New Hampshire fishermen argue this change has made the cost of working outpace profits, forced many small boats out of business, and discouraged new people from entering the industry. No matter the cause, figures from the US Census Bureau clearly show an industry in decline. In Portsmouth, the Seacoast’s main city, the Census Bureau reports only 0.2 percent of residents work in the “Farming, fishing and forestry occupations” category. That’s compared to 0.6 percent in 2000. A number of New Hampshire fishermen, politicians, and historians believe that without change, the state’s small boat fishing industry is heading toward extinction.Summary provided by StateImpact NH

Fishing Industry Hailing New Federal Administrator, Bracing for New Cuts

Next year could be a critical year for commercial fishermen in New England.

That’s because regulators said last week at a meeting in Portsmouth, that they may institute sharp cuts in catch limits on a number of groundfish species, like cod and haddock.

John Williamson is a consultant in marine fisheries, with a long history of working with and in the fishing industry. He tells All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about what we know and don't know about the fish populations, how the proposed cuts could affect the fishing industry, and the appointment of a new Northeast administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which develops policy on fishing issues.

Links: NHPR's Sam Evans-Brown recommended a number of articles as background reading on fishing issues:

Gulf of Maine Research Institute: Gulf of Maine Cod Face Tumultuous Times

WGBH: What really happened to Gulf of Maine cod

Environmental Defense Fund: Charting a Course for Gulf of Maine Cod, Part 1

TalkingFish.org: How Investing in Our Fisheries Pays Off