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Environment
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

Fisheries Study Shows Unhealthy Cod Population

 

Scientists and commercial fishermen are at odds over a new report on overfishing in the Gulf of Maine.

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study gives a dire assessment of the health of the codfish population. 

At a meeting in Portsmouth, federal regulators met with fishermen to discuss the study that has yet to be peer reviewed. 

Eric Schwab, with the National Marine Fisheries Service, says federal law requires the cod fishery be rebuilt to historic levels by 2014. “We are seeing some preliminary scientific numbers that are surprising, and frankly, bad, and would lead to some more restrictive management measures if these numbers hold up,” says Schwab.

But Hampton Fisherman and Marine Biologist David Goethel says that he disputes some of the findings of the study, and that any more draconian regulations could reduce commercial fishing by 80 percent.