Pacific Fishery vote is a win for fish and fishermen; bottom trawling restrictions result from collaborative process

Today, Monday, April 10, 2018 the Pacific Fishery Management Council voted to adopt a package of revisions to bottom trawl area restrictions along the west coast of North America. Working from a collaborative plan developed by NRDC, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and industry stakeholders, the Council established new protected areas while also opening selected economically-important areas to fishing. The package of changes will improve habitat protection for numerous groundfish species, while also increasing fishing opportunity and supporting the West Coast groundfish fishery.

Following is a reaction from Seth Atkinson, staff attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, who spent several years working with a broad coalition of stakeholders to develop the core structure of the changes adopted today:

"This is a story of former adversaries--fishing industry representatives and environmental NGOs--coming together to work collaboratively on fishing regulations off the West Coast. Both fish and fishermen come out winners on this one."

"When this process started, all sides had dug in for the typical fisheries fight. But by listening to each other and building trust, we were able to achieve both sides' goals. We built on fishermen's deep knowledge of the seafloor, and drew on the latest scientific data to come up with a plan that improves fishing opportunity and increases the level of habitat protection."

1 comment

  • Steve Ulvi Wednesday, 11 April 2018 09:33 Comment Link

    This is an important step, but a small step forward, in protecting seafloor habitat and preventing by-catch in a few areas of concern. But the overall tragedy of modern fisheries resources in North America and off-shore is mind-boggling. Pollution laden waters like the southern Salish Sea, rampant wetland destruction and urban sprawl, poisonous storm water runoff, too many hydro dams and many without fish passage, booming seal and sea lion populations, net pen production of disease ridden Atlantic salmon in public waters and the absolute game changers of northern Pacific warming and less mountain snow in the future.

    How is it possible that we have screwed up fisheries so badly? Unchecked corporate interests. Monetization of public resources with flimsy oversight and tepid management by agencies. And especially "sliding baseline syndrome" for all of us who love fishing and eating wild fish.

    Gawd help us!


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