No Need to Lift Catch Limits
New England fishermen who catch ground fish like cod and flounder are in the midst of a pioneering season marked by hard limits on overfished stocks and a new system of dividing most of the catch among boats based on their locations and past volume of fish, reports www.megafishnet.com with reference to the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Not surprisingly, there have been start-up problems. But the solution is to fix those bugs, not to ask - as Governor Patrick did - for a wholesale lifting of the caps on the depleted species. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke was wise to turn Patrick down.
Many fishermen are doing fine with the new system. After adjusting for inflation, total revenues for ground fish by Massachusetts fishermen were 21 percent higher in 2010 than the average for comparable months in 2005 to 2009. The number of boats grossing more than $300,000 in the first five months of the current season rose to 41 from 21 a year ago.