WebHeader_Grove.png
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Get 2 limited-edition podcast mugs when you make a sustaining gift of $8 or more per month today!
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

Lead Sinkers Bill Heads to the House

Loon.jpg
Flkr Creative Commons / KeithCarver
/

For some Granite Staters the loon represents the state in a very emotional way, and supporters of the bird were out in force on Tuesday, defending a bill that would ban lead fishing gear. The bill was being heard by the House Fish and Game Committee, and attendees over-flowed out the door of a double capacity hearing room. 

New Hampshire was the first state in the nation to ban some lead fishing gear in 2000, but lead hooks and sinkers over a certain size are still legal.

According to the Loon Preservation Committee half of the birds that they find dead have been killed by lead poisoning. The executive director of the Committee, Harry Vogel, told house lawmakers that if it weren’t for lead, the state would be farther along in rebuilding its loon population.

"I feel a little bit like we’re running this race, and after 37 years we’re still only half-way to the finish line," says Vogels, "We’re running as hard as we can, but we’re going backwards."

Loon supporters weren't the only ones in the room, however. Bass fishermen and Fish and Game stepped up to voice their opposition to the bill, saying it would be expensive for fishermen and gear shops, and there’s not enough hard science on loon mortality to prove the ban would be a benefit.

The executive director of Fish and Game Glenn Normandeau told the committee that he was afraid the bill would be contentious, but not advance the goal of increasing the loon population.

Sam Evans-Brown has been working for New Hampshire Public Radio since 2010, when he began as a freelancer. He shifted gears in 2016 and began producing Outside/In, a podcast and radio show about “the natural world and how we use it.” His work has won him several awards, including two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, one national Murrow, and the Overseas Press Club of America's award for best environmental reporting in any medium. He studied Politics and Spanish at Bates College, and before reporting was variously employed as a Spanish teacher, farmer, bicycle mechanic, ski coach, research assistant, a wilderness trip leader and a technical supporter.

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.