New Hampshire fishermen say the federal government’s most recent fishery management policy continues to push them out of business.
Fishermen who attended a Monday night forum in Portsmouth say that the federal catch share policy, implemented in 2010, requires them to pay significant sums of money to lease or buy access to fishery areas. The result, says Ellen Goethel of Hampton, is that the owners of smaller fishing boats are being squeezed out.
"My husband has the equivalent of three days of codfish to catch next year, under this new allocation. He used to fish 220 to 240 days a year for cod just several years ago."
Goethel, a marine biologist, was one of about 50 fishermen, scientists and college students who attended the “Who Fishes Matters Tour” in Portsmouth. Event organizer Brett Tolley agrees that the three year old policy favors large vessel owners who can pay for the right to fish.
"We’re seeing reports come out that are showing disproportionate impact to small scale and independent fishermen."
Organizers are holding several such meetings in New England, with a goal of uniting local fishermen and other community members to advocate for change in fishing regulations.