- John BullardRegional Administrator, NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service
Stop Wall Street Fisheries and Protect Main Street Fishermen
My name is Ed Snell and I am a fisherman based in Portland, Maine. I grew up in a farming family and I’m familiar with the negative economical and ecological impacts of industrial farming to our local family farmers. This is a system whereby big business leaves farmers with all of the risk associated with their business and little to none of the profits. These same patterns are disturbingly present in fisheries policy.
We have allowed a system that has monetized access to fish and paved the way for very few entities to ‘own’ the right to catch and sell fish stocks. This means that fishermen without much (or any) fish quota are forced to lease quota from other permits, often for prices that approach and sometimes exceed the market price for that fish. In other words, fishermen are fishing at a loss, because others control their legal ability to go fishing.
This system has forced community based fishermen around New England out of business and is further consolidating the industry, concentrating fisheries access into the hands of a few. When fewer boats are fishing for more fish, their effort is concentrated in what’s known as pulse fishing, which is particularly destructive on inshore areas that are the fishing grounds most accessible to small + mid scale fishermen.
The fisheries Council (the governing body that crafts the region’s federal fisheries policy) is overwhelmingly made up of and lobbied by people who represent the largest players in the seafood industry, and they are incapable of fixing these problems. Mainly because they don't see consolidation and privatization as a problem.
We now turn to John Bullard of NOAA's National Marine Service (NMFS) to step in and do what's right. Mr. Bullard has the power, he understands the problem, and has the tools to fix it.
Fishing communities include fishermen, processors, fish workers, marketers, seafood eaters and more. We are working together to maximize the social, environmental, economic, and food system benefits of community based fishermen but fisheries policy designed to consolidate and privatize fisheries is getting in the way.
We need John Bullard (short term) and Congress (long term) to ensure policy safeguards to support our vision. And we need your voices behind us all the way.
If we care about the health of our ocean, working waterfronts, and locally caught seafood, than who fishes matters! Join us.
- Regional Administrator, NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service
We ask that you protect our community-based, independent fishermen as well as the public commons. For the sake of the fish and our communities, we need safeguards in place against policies designed to consolidate and concentrate access into the hands of a powerful few.
In New England and elsewhere we believe that Main Street fisheries are better than Wall Street Fisheries. We know that farming policies driven by Wall Street have allowed for consolidation of our farmlands with grave ecological, social, and economic impacts. These policies are now being replicated in fisheries and it should stop.
You have the power, you understand the problem, and we are behind you to help fix this problem.
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