[Coral-List] New England commercial fishing closed area updates

Kristof Ketch synapsis at charter.net
Fri Apr 12 18:40:47 EDT 2013

While this does not affect tropical coral reefs, it affects a good 
portion of habitat structure in New England that does include not too 
well studied deep water corals in the region. The New England Fishery 
Management Council (NEFMC) is recommending updates to areas off the New 
England coast and on Georges Bank currently closed to commercial 
fishing. New evidence shows that these areas should be adjusted to 
improve habitat protection, and that allowing fishermen and scallopers 
into parts of the closures would ultimately lessen the fishery’s impact 
on the environment. The current mortality closed areas are a remnant of 
effort based control when fishing effort was controlled by days at sea. 
With the switch to quota management in 2010, these controls on fishing 
efficiency only harm fishermen and the environment by forcing fishermen 
to make longer tows over more bottom to catch the same poundage of fish. 
With limits on the pounds the fishermen can catch, these mortality 
closed areas are out dated. The exemptions being proposed for Fishing 
Year (FY) 2013 only affect the mortality closed areas on a sector by 
sector basis that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) retains 
the right to revoke, and deserve the support of environmentalists and 
fishermen alike; however, they are only a short term adjustment. 
Hopefully the full Omnibus Habitat Amendment, which the FY 2013 
exemptions are based off of, will be proposed for FY 2014. These are 
both the result of a decade's worth of collaborative research on 
habitats in New England waters.

I fully support the Council’s recommendations as a way to protect the 
marine environment while still providing some relief to the struggling 
New England fishermen. The Council needs to follow the conclusions of 
its scientific analysis. For some reason though, there is strong 
opposition from many special interest environmental groups about these 
closed areas changes even though the proposed changes are based on sound 
science. Guess they don't like change or else haven't read any of the 
research. That is why I am recommending others lend support to these 
important closed area updates by helping to educate others of the 
benefits of these changes and this site is a good start 

Here is a link to a draft of the Habitat Omnibus Amendment

Thanks in advance for your support,

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