Over the Bar

With herring, fears realized, we have to keep fighting

With herring, fears realized, we have to keep fighting

We are now witnessing the bitter, devastating impact to our fishing community and ecosystem caused by a single federal judge who overturned years of effort to protect our small-boat fishery and small fish crucial to the ocean’s health.

After years of effort by Cape fishermen, our community, and like-minded interests across the region, last year the National Marine Fisheries Service approved a 12-mile buffer zone, with a 20-mile bump off Cape Cod, to protect ocean herring, a vital forage fish, from mid-water trawls. This was a huge victory that many of you helped make possible with your support and public advocacy.

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With herring, fears realized, we have to keep fighting

Time for some holistic talk in Chatham

The ocean doesn’t subdivide and segregate, that’s not nature’s way. Mixing and mingling, coursing and combining, always is the default.

But that fact of life can drive fisheries managers crazy. If everything always is in flux, interconnected in the complex play and way of life, how can we be smart and responsible, know what we’ve got and what to do, keep commercial fishing strong while thinking ahead and protecting both habitat and fishing for the future?

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Bad advice, and a threat, from an organization that should know better

Bluefin tuna, the real story

For a long time, there has been a collective idea that bluefin tuna are endangered, something like the white rhinos of the sea.

The truth is very different, and much more encouraging:

Bluefin tuna are plentiful, in large part because of national and international efforts to rebuild stocks, and harvest in appropriate amounts.

That’s not to say conflicts and problems have vanished.

How many bluefin is the right number to land, while maintaining a healthy population, remains a big question.

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We Meet the Fleet, now let’s meet the best scientists

We Meet the Fleet, now let’s meet the best scientists

One of our great, fun community successes in recent years has been regular “Meet the Fleet” events, when we pull together fishermen and chefs to share the experience of being on the water, offer insights into different species landed locally, and present a creative transformation of work and fish into beautiful cuisine.

That got me to thinking:

How about we grow the concept, and create a second ongoing series that tries to do similar things but this time with amazing people who explore the biggest ideas of the ocean world, and how they apply to our small corner of it? Put Cape Cod and the fisheries into scientific context, this time with plates full of ideas?

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MORE NUMBERS, THIS TIME BRINGING IN FARMERS

MORE NUMBERS, THIS TIME BRINGING IN FARMERS

Last month in this space I dove into a pool that is surprisingly deep — the economic impact of Massachusetts fisheries.

Culling through excellent reports from the Division of Marine Fisheries, the bottom line is that in 2021, Massachusetts landings showed a value of $802 million “ex-vessel,” meaning the total amount fishermen were paid for their catch, all species, before that harvest was re-sold in markets or restaurants.

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We Meet the Fleet, now let’s meet the best scientists

AN UNDERAPPRECIATED, POWERHOUSE INDUSTRY

The latest stats about the state of our fishery have just emerged from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, covering landings across the Commonwealth for 2021, built off meticulous reports the agency requires all commercial fishermen to file so by far the best snapshot we have of what’s happening out there.

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