Support the Production of Local Seafood

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Stephen Davies
Stephen Davies signed this petition

The Great South Channel Habitat Management Area is a dynamic fishing ground, located on the Nantucket shoals, off of southern New England, that has provided seafood for Americans for the last 100 years. The high energy bottom is unique, providing an abundance of Atlantic surf clams for the past four decades. This area has been closed to all mobile bottom-tending gear (i.e. dredge, bottom trawl) in the interest of habitat management for species of fish such as Atlantic cod. 

The trade-offs, however, are not well understood, and local economies will be significantly impacted by this closure. Further, The carbon footprint of this wild capture fishery is lower than farther offshore fishing grounds, and significantly lower than land-based production of animal protein or importing seafood from overseas. We need to better understand the habitat types that occur in this area, and the best way to preserve vulnerable habitats, while harvesting from nearby less-vulnerable habitat. 

 We are the locals who depend on wild capture fisheries for our livelihood. We depend on science to help managers to make the best decisions on how to sustainably harvest from our bountiful seas. To be sure we want to perpetuate local wild harvest seafood into the foreseeable future, our scientific endeavors will address how best to manage habitat and fishing. Blocking Science has us dwell in ignorance.

We, the undersigned, are seafood consumers, concerned citizens, fishermen, businessmen, seafood processors, dock workers, and scientists who urge the National Marine Fisheries Service to recognize the entire body of science on dredge impact. To acknowledge that dredge impacts vary greatly in space and time and that the environmental impact that occurs must be weighed against natural disturbance, and the associated benefits of seafood harvest. We urge the National Marine Fisheries Service to 1) heed the advice of the New England Fisheries Management Council and implement the Clam Dredge Exemption Framework, 2) allow exempted fishing permit research within the Rose and Crown and Davis Bank East areas, and 3) to not extend the public comment phase by an additional 15 days after March 23 2020.