March 05, 2015

After Months of Pressure, NOAA Adopts Sector Proposal on Cod Fishing Restrictions

Washington, D.C. – Today, following pressure by the Northeast Seafood Coalition (NSC), Gloucester Fishing Community Preservation Fund and Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA), the Northeast Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that it would adopt the sector-based proposal on cod fishing restrictions. The proposal, which has greater conservation benefits for the Gulf of Maine (GOM) cod while minimizing the economic hardships faced by small fishing businesses, reversed highly restrictive cod fishing regulations off GOM.

In January, Congressman Moulton, joined by four Congressional colleagues, wrote a letter to NOAA urging them to reconsider the alternative proposal.

“This is a major feat on behalf of the Gulf of Maine fishing community,” said Moulton. “The alternative plan is based on sound science that achieves a higher level of conservation while also giving the fisherman the ability to continue to fish. I’m grateful to NOAA for adopting this new proposal, which meets our shared goal of cod conservation and a sustainable fishing industry. Achieving this outcome was a true team effort, but it would not have been possible without the ingenuity of the Gloucester Fishing Community Preservation Fund and the leadership of the Northeast Seafood Coalition.”

The Northeast Seafood Coalition, which represents the interests of northeast commercial fishing businesses, supported the efforts led by the Gloucester Fishing Community Preservation Fund to craft the alternative policy adopted by NOAA.

“We would like to extend our appreciation to the Gloucester Fishing Community Preservation Fund and Sectors operating in the northeast groundfish fishery for working collaboratively to put forth the sector-based exemption request that was approved by NOAA,” said Jackie O’Delll, executive director at NSC. “We greatly appreciate NOAA’s reconsideration of a sector based alternative to the recent GOM cod interim action and are grateful for the support of members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation on creative solutions that strike a better balance between cod conservation and the economic needs of the groundfish fishery. Thank you Congressman Moulton, Congressman Lynch, Congressman Neal, Congressman Keating and Congressman McGovern for your support for sound policy decision making that benefits the fish, the fishermen and all businesses and communities that depend upon a sustainable groundfish fishery.”