Posts Tagged marine life protection act

May 5 2015

Study of Central Coast marine reserves finds signs of fish recovery

Researchers say more time is needed for fish populations to flourish

MorroBayFishermensWharfTourists stop to watch fish being unloaded at the Morro Bay Fishermen’s Wharf.
DAVID MIDDLECAMP — dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

 

Fish populations have shown signs of rebounding in state marine protected areas off California’s Central Coast, but more time is needed for them to flourish, according to a recent study conducted by Cal Poly and the California Sea Grant.

The study was published in March in Plos One, a peer-reviewed journal by the Public Library of Science.

The study examined the first seven years of monitoring of fish within four marine protected areas (MPAs) between San Francisco and Morro Bay.

Fishing within MPAs is generally prohibited or severely limited to allow refuges for fish species that are harvested commercially.

MPAs make up about 18 percent of the state water territory.

“These marine reserves are going to work, but they’re not a short-term solution for commercial fisheries,” said the study’s lead author, Rick Starr, director of the California Sea Grant’s Extension Program.

Starr said that fish populations go up and down based on environmental conditions, and they’ve not detected much difference in populations inside and outside the protected areas.

“In the seven years of data examined, we didn’t see much change that could be attributed to the MPA status,” Starr said.

That could be partly due to reduced fishing pressure through regulations in non-protected areas, the scientists said.

However, Starr believes more time is needed to assess the newer MPAs.

In comparison, the much older Point Lobos State Marine Reserve, protected since 1973, is thriving with an abundance of fish.

Cal Poly biological resources researcher Dean Wendt, a co-author of the study, said about 20 fish per hour can be caught recreationally in Point Lobos near Monterey — compared to about seven fish per hour in the MPAs Año Nuevo (north of Santa Cruz), Piedras Blancas (between Morro Bay and Monterey) and Point Buchon (near Morro Bay). That’s an indicator that the Point Lobos zone is far more populated.

Reaction

A director with the Morro Bay Commercial Fishermen’s Organization, Jeremiah O’Brien, said that he has appreciated the collaboration between fishermen and scientists in the research.But O’Brien said he’s skeptical about the type of ocean management that blocks off large areas off the coast from fishing.

“These MPAs were mandated by many who know nothing about fishing and less about ocean issues,” O’Brien said. “There are many management tools available, and this is a poor choice. Seven years and there is no difference — one would think that there would be some noticeable change no matter how small.”

O’Brien, however, added that “we have a lot of respect for Dean Wendt, and he always tries to include commercial fisherman in his work.”

More research details

Starr and Wendt, who is dean of research in Cal Poly’s biological sciences department, coordinated with a team of marine researchers and more than 700 volunteer fishermen to sample fish within and outside of the protected areas.The scientists attribute the study results to several factors, including the longer life and reproductive cycles of cold-water California fish, including some that live to be more than 50 years old and can take several years to reproduce.

However, lingcod, which take 3 to 5 years to mature, have seen increases in population within the MPAs, Wendt said.

Fish recruitment — meaning how well local juvenile fish are surviving — is another factor.

In some years, conditions can be right for juvenile fish to significantly add to the population, while in other years ocean currents channel them farther out to sea, where they die. In El Niño years, juvenile fish don’t have enough to eat.

Rockfish recruitment is particularly sporadic, meaning it can be more difficult to gauge how well the MPAs are working.

The idea behind the MPAs is that eventually the protected zones will contribute to a “spillover” effect in which species move from the protected areas to surrounding ocean vicinities to help grow populations.


Read the original post: www.sanluisobispo.com

Apr 29 2015

Ray Hilborn Asks If the Drive for MPA’s is Environmentally Shortsighted

— Posted with permission of SEAFOODNEWS.COM. Please do not republish without their permission. —

SEAFOODNEWS.COM  [SeafoodNews]  April 29 2015


Most NGO’s assume that Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s) are an unmitigated good, with little thought to their impact on the global food system.


But, converting large areas of productive fisheries to no-take zones, while appealing to NGO’s, actually may increase global environmental degredation.


The reason, says Professor Ray Hilborn in our latest video, is that marine protein is essential to global food systems, and as countries get richer and consumer more protein, you must ask where that protein will come from.


Already one quarter of all the ice-free landmass on earth is used for grazing animals.  Growing and feeding beef cattle is very land and energy intensive.


Hilborn says “Most ecolabeling systems make no connection between what we do in the oceans and what we do elsewhere.”


He goes on to say that unless you consider how marine protein is going to be replaced, such a narrow view of priorities could make global environmental problems worse, not better.


To supply the current level of marine protein from land based animals would require an area 22 times larger than all global rainforests put together.


Subscribe to SEAFOODNEWS to watch the video— Ray Hilborn: Eat a Fish, Save a Rainforest



Copyright © 2015 Seafoodnews.com
Dec 9 2014

At Asia-Pacific summit, Kerry gives wrong advice for world’s fisheries

congress-blog

Environmental sustainability was one of the top concerns at the mid-November Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing, as shown by the potentially groundbreaking climate agreement reached between the United States and China. The fate of the world’s oceans, from issues ranging from climate change to overfishing, was also in the spotlight, being mentioned by Secretary of State John Kerry as one of many challenges facing the Asia-Pacific region. Unfortunately, the solutions we’re focusing on are not enough to solve the problems that our marine environments face.

The APEC summit is the most recent instance in which the US has touted the expansion of marine preserves as a tonic for global overfishing, especially as climate change and ocean acidification threaten to radically alter our ocean ecosystems. This past September, the Administration created the largest marine reserve in the world when it expanded the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, moving this strategy to the forefront of our international ocean policy. Secretary Kerry hailed this development as “critical” at the summit, going on to note, “most of the fisheries of the world are overfished.”

But Secretary Kerry gets some key facts wrong here. For one, most of the fisheries of the world are not overfished. In 2014, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) placed that number at 29 percent, and reported that approximately 70 percent of the stocks that they assessed were being fished within biologically sustainable levels. If the U.S. is going to promote sustainability worldwide, it should acknowledge current management successes.

And more importantly, these Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) aren’t sufficient to solve some of the most pressing issues affecting our oceans, despite our nation’s recent enthusiasm for promoting them.

MPAs are certainly very useful for certain conservation goals. They can protect vulnerable habitats like coral reefs as well as benefit some species of fish that make those habitats their home. But their widespread adoption presents several challenges and raises several concerns. The biggest issue is that—especially in the developing world—people still need to fish. It’s a valuable source of employment, and an even more valuable source of protein. The FAO estimated that in 2011, 2.3 billion people relied on fish as a significant source of animal protein. A shift from seafood to other, land-based food sources like meat and agriculture may actually increase greenhouse emissions and pollution, making these threats to our oceans even worse.

MPAs are also a much more limited tool than currently acknowledged. They do little to help certain stocks of highly migratory fish, like tuna, which don’t remain in any closed area long enough to reap much of the benefits. Even stocks that stay in one place might not benefit for long. With climate change putting increasing pressure on stocks to migrate from their traditional territories to cooler waters, the spatial limitations of an MPA are a poor fit for the habitat changes that are likely to occur. Similarly, MPAs provide little protection against the increasingly prominent effects of ocean acidification. Effectively dealing with these growing climate problems is going to require a long-term strategy that is simply outside the reach of fisheries management.

Fishing isn’t likely to go away anytime soon, and a global conservation strategy that’s too reliant on keeping fishermen out of an ever-expanding set of ocean reserves has some obvious political, economic, and practical limits. Adopting more sustainable management measures for some of the world’s largest fisheries, many of them in APEC member countries, would likely have a much greater impact.

So what’s the best way to address the problem of overfishing and prepare for climate change? We need to promote a combination of strategies at the international level that have worked so well in some of the world’s best managed fisheries, such as New Zealand, Norway, Iceland, and here in the United States. When effectively implemented, measures like limiting the size of fish that can be caught, controlling how much fish is caught, and restricting the ways in which fish can be caught all produce effects similar to those seen in successful MPAs. They also have the benefit of sustaining fishing economies and maintaining fish as a viable source of food.

No conservation measures, whether on climate, or pollution, or overfishing, can be sustainable in the long-term unless they confront economic and political realities. Promoting better fishing, rather than simply displacing or banning it all together, is far more likely to win support among the developing world, which can’t afford to sacrifice a critical way of life.

Hilborn is professor of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences at the University of Washington and the author of Overfishing: What Everyone Needs to Know by Oxford University Press. Rothschild is dean emeritus of the University of Massachusetts School for Marine Science and Technology. Cadrin is the immediate past president of the American Institute of Fisheries Research Biologists. Lassen is the founder and president of Ocean Trust.


View the original post here.

May 14 2014

Sea-lion miseries tied to sardine reduction

sealion
Nursing the mammal population back to health raises another question: Do we let nature take its course if there are now too many?

By ERIKA I. RITCHIE / STAFF WRITER
Published: May 6, 2014
Photo: ANNA REED, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Mass beachings of malnourished sea lions in 2013 are likely linked to a drop in sardine populations near Channel Islands rookeries where thousands of sea lions are born each year, federal officials say.

More than 1,600 sea lion pups washed up on beaches from San Diego to Ventura between January and April 2013 – starving, dehydrated and suffering from a variety of diseases.

The mass stranding led the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries service to form a task force of scientists to research what could have caused the unusual mortality event.

In the past two months, 650 sea lions have been found on beaches in similar conditions.

“Although the pups showed signs of some viruses and infections, findings indicate that this event was not caused by disease, rather by the lack of high-quality, close-by food sources for nursing mothers,” said Sarah Wilkin, coordinator of the Marine Mammal Health Stranding and Response Program for the National Marine Fisheries.

The task force’s scientists considered prey, oceanic conditions, viruses, bacteria, toxins and even radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant. The lack of sardines has been the only clear indicator of the mass stranding.
SARDINE DECLINE

Sardines, a fatty, silvery fish, provide a high level of nutrients not only to sea lions but also to seals, elephant seals and humpback whales, many of which are also found along the Channel Islands and compete for food with the sea lions.

Sardine numbers are in steep decline, and those that are available have shifted spawning grounds, previously surveyed within 50 miles of the sea lion rookeries, to deep water up to 120 miles from shore even as sea lion numbers are booming.

Scientists say the absence of sardines near the rookeries likely created challenges for mothers in feeding their pups and forced juveniles to swim farther to find other forage fish like market squid and juvenile rock fish. Most sea lions hunt within 60 miles of their rookeries.

In the 1940 and ’50s, sardines were heavily fished off the coast of Monterrey in Northern California. Their numbers drastically declined for 30 years and then rebounded in the 1980s, according to task force member Sam McClatchie, an oceanographer with Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla who has conducted fish number studies on sardines.

In 2006, sardine numbers again began to crash, McClatchie said. Last December, the fishing quota was dropped to 5,446 metric tons for California, Oregon and Washington from January to June. In the same time period the previous year, the quota was 18,073 metric tons.

Sardines and other pelagic fish such as anchovies, market squid, rock fish and hag are known to fluctuate in populations and locations. The fish are mobile, migrating from Baja to Vancouver each year.

But sardines, while flexible, are easily affected by changes in ocean temperature. A dip of water temperatures in the south-flowing California current in the last decade could be reducing their numbers off the Southern California coast.

There are big differences in temperature between Baja, Vancouver and the California central coast along with seasonal and regional differences that cause volatile swings in sardine populations. While those conditions have brought a boom in some species, like market squid, they have pushed out sardines.

“In a year where conditions are good, we can get a lot of fish,” McClatchie said. “They often live five to eight years and in a good pulse, a lot of eggs can be produced related to the number of mothers there are. How many survive depends on environmental conditions and how many are eating them.”
2013 BEACHINGS UNUSUAL

Last year’s stranding was not the largest in the California, but the timing and location made it unique, said Justin Viezbicke, California stranding network coordinator for National Marine Fisheries.

Sea lions began washing ashore in January, much earlier than usual. Sea lion pups are born in summer and stay with their mothers for 10 to 11 months, so rescue centers don’t usually see strandings until June.


 

View the original post: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/-613015–.html?page=1

Apr 22 2014

One Fish Two Fish: Monitoring MPAs Educator Guide

“The California Wetfish Producers Association partners with both state and federal scientists to advance the knowledge of ocean cycles and their influence on coastal pelagic resources.  California marine resources now benefit from the best fishery management in the world, thanks to strict regulations and the collaboration of scientists, management agencies and fishermen.”

Read the original article — kqed.org

One Fish Two Fish: Monitoring Marine Protected Areas Educator Guide

Oct 25 2013

Sustainable Seafood – A U.S. Success Story

NOAA   FishWatch

The United States is a recognized global leader in responsibly managed fisheries and sustainable seafood. And you can help too!

This video introduces consumers to FishWatch.gov, which provides easy-to-understand, science-based facts to help users make smart, sustainable seafood choices.

Through this video, you’ll learn more about “sustainability” and what NOAA is doing to ensure that our seafood is caught and farmed responsibly with consideration for the health of a species, the environment, and the livelihoods of the people that depend on them.

Have you ever thought about where that piece of salmon on your plate came from? It could have been caught in a wild fishery or harvested from an aquaculture operation. Maybe it’s from the United States, or maybe it was imported from another country, like Canada or Chile?

Read the full story here.

Jun 9 2013

Warming, Rising Acidity and Pollution: Top Threats to the Ocean

Ocean plants produce some 50% of the planet’s oxygen. Seawater absorbs a quarter of the carbon dioxide we pump into the atmosphere. Ocean currents distribute heat around the globe, regulating weather patterns and climate. And, for those who take pleasure in life’s simple rewards, a seaweed extract keeps your peanut butter and ice cream at the right consistency!

Nonetheless, those of us who can’t see the ocean from our window still feel a disconnect—because the ocean feels far away, it’s easy to forget the critical role the ocean plays in human life and to think that problems concerning the ocean will only harm those people that fish or make their living directly from the sea. But this isn’t true: the sea is far more important than that.

Every year, scientists learn more about the top threats to the ocean and what we can do to counter them. So for tomorrow’s World Oceans Day, here’s a run-down of what we’ve learned just in the past 12 months.

Read the full story here

Ruddy turnstones sit on an abandoned pier on the coast of Hawaii. Photo by LCDR Eric T. Johnson, NOAA Corps

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May 24 2012

California is Global Leader in Managing Forage Fish

 

Note: This article also appeared in the Santa Cruz SentinelNorth County TimesSalinas Californian, and online, on Saving Seafood and Science 2.0.

 

 

 
 
 
 

Written By Steve Scheiblauer

 

More than 150 years ago, immigrant Chinese fishermen launched sampans into the chilly waters of Monterey Bay to capture squid. The Bay also lured fishermen from Sicily and other Mediterranean countries, who brought round-haul nets to fish for sardines.

 

This was the beginning of the largest fishery in the western hemisphere – California’s famed ‘wetfish’ industry, imprinted on our collective conscience by writers like John Steinbeck.

 

Who doesn’t remember Cannery Row?

 

It was the plentiful schools of fish – especially sardines that stretch from the Gulf of California to Alaska during cycles of abundance – that provided opportunity for generations of enterprising fishing families to prosper. These families helped build not only Monterey, but the ports of many other California cities, like San Diego, San Francisco and San Pedro – the fishing hub of Los Angeles.

 

But now, this historic industry – named for the fish that were canned wet from the sea – is under attack by extremist groups who claim overfishing is occurring.   That allegation is false;  fishermen have long recognized that a sustainable fishery was good for both people and fish.

 

When the sardine resource began its storied decline in the late 1940s, wetfish fishermen levied an assessment on their catch and contributed to the beginning of the California Cooperative Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI).  A cooperative effort between the National Marine Fisheries Service, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Department of Fish and Game, CalCOFI now is one of the preeminent research efforts worldwide.

 

Research has since documented the dynamic fluctuations in coastal pelagic ‘wetfish’ stocks, including sardine and anchovy, which alternate their cycles of abundance – sardines favoring warm water epochs and anchovy preferring cold.

 

Core samples from an anaerobic trench in the Southern California Bight found alternating layers of sardine and anchovy scales over a period of 1,400 years.  Turns out, sardine stocks would have declined naturally even without fishing pressure.

 

Today the wetfish industry maintains its commitment to research with cooperative efforts ongoing for both sardine and squid.

 

Even though the canneries are gone due to their inability to compete on a now global marketing stage, our wetfish industry is still the backbone of California’s fishing economy – responsible for more than 80 percent of the volume and more than 40 percent of dockside value in 2010.

 

Fast forward to earlier this month, when an in-depth study by a panel of 13 hand-picked scientists provided recommendations on policies to protect forage fish – like anchovy, sardines and market squid – that larger species feed on.

 

The study by the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force concluded that overfishing of forage species is unfortunately occurring on a global scale.

 

But interestingly, these scientists also identified the west coast, as different, noting that California is, “ahead of other parts of the world in how it manages some forage fish.” The region has “stricter monitoring and more conservative limits that could serve as a buffer against future crashes.”

 

The Lenfest Report provides a strong case that forage fish are managed better in California and the Northern California Current than anywhere else in the world.  Overall, forage fisheries here account for less than two percent of total forage production (including both fished and unfished stocks), leaving 98 percent for other marine life.

 

Knowledgeable people understand that this is no accident. Fishing families have worked and are working with regulators to conserve California’s fisheries and coastal waters.

 

In fact, after a 20-year moratorium on sardine fishing, California adopted strict fishing regulations when the sardine resource rebounded. The federal government assumed management of coastal pelagic species in 1999 and approved a visionary management strategy for the west coast ‘forage’ fish harvest, maintaining at least 75 percent of the fish in the ocean to ensure a resilient core biomass. The sardine protection rate is even higher at about 90 percent.

 

Even so, some environmental groups are calling for deep and unnecessary cutbacks in sardine fishing in California, as well as substantial harvest reductions in other forage fish fisheries, including herring, anchovies and squid.

 

Touting studies with faulty calculations, activists are lobbying federal regulators to massively limit fishing, if not ban these fisheries outright.

 

Apparently the facts don’t matter to groups with an anti-fishing agenda. Their rhetoric leaves those not familiar with the fishing industry with the impression that overfishing is a huge problem in California.

 

We hope decision makers will see through the rhetoric when developing harvest policy for California’s historic, and still important, wetfish fisheries.

 

Ed’s Note: Steve Scheiblauer is the harbmaster for the city of Monterey.

 

Read the full opinion piece online on Capital Weekly.

 
Apr 7 2012

Conservation in the Anthropocene: A Breakthrough Journal Debate

In their Breakthrough Journal essay, “Conservation in the Anthropocene,” Peter Kareiva, Michelle Marvier, and Robert Lalasz showed that conservation is losing the war to protect nature despite winning the battle to create parks and game preserves. While the number of protected areas has risen, species in wild places have fallen. Conservationists must shed their 19th Century vision of pristine nature, the authors wrote, and seek a new vision, one of “a planet in which nature exists amidst a wide variety of modern, human landscapes.”

In a new Breakthrough debate, a host of passionate 21st Century conservationists, including Kierán SucklingPaul RobbinsRay HilbornLisa Hayward, and Barbara Martinez, face off with the authors over the resilience of nature, corporate partners, and the state of conservation today.

Of particular interest is the commentary submitted by Professor Ray Hilborn. You can read his response below, or click here to see Breakthrough Journal’s full debate.

 


MARINE PARKS ARE FISHY

Ray Hilborn

By Ray Hilborn

In “Conservation in the Anthropocene,” Peter Kareiva, Robert Lalasz, and Michelle Marvier argue that conservation needs to move beyond parks and protected areas. They stress that ecosystems are generally resilient to perturbation, and rather than being irreparably damaged by the slightest anthropogenic impact, ecosystems can both support biodiversity and produce sustainable goods and services. While their arguments and examples are drawn from terrestrial ecosystems, much of their article is relevant to marine ecosystems, my field of study.

Marine ecosystems are the new frontier for conservation. And much of the funding for new scientific work has been directed towards the establishment of protected areas. It’s important to note that while marine and terrestrial ecosystems share much in common, there are differences. One fundamental difference is the nature of human use. In terrestrial ecosystems, a dominant form of use is agriculture, which essentially rips out native ecosystems and replaces them with exotic species: crops, tree plantations, or grasses for grazing. Agriculture makes no pretense about preserving natural ecosystems.

In contrast, in marine ecosystems, we attempt to sustainably harvest the natural ecosystem. We leave the lower trophic levels—primary producers and most of their consumers—untouched, and exploit only the higher trophic levels. This has profound consequences. It means that even if the dreams of protecting 10 percent of the world’s ocean, as set out in the 1992 Convention on Biodiversity, were to come true, most marine biodiversity will remain outside the boundaries. The struggle to maintain biodiversity is in the total anthropocene ocean; it will never be achieved through protected areas.

The marine conservation movement has been slow to grasp this. Similarly, it has failed to see that closing areas to fishing does not eliminate fishing pressure, it simply moves it. When an area is closed, fishing efforts concentrate outside protected areas. Consequently, simple comparisons of abundance inside and outside of reserves as a measure of “success” are meaningless. The salient question to ask is what happens to the total abundance.

One study sought to answer this question by tracking trends in abundance inside and outside of a set of reserves established in the California Channel Islands.1 Of the species targeted by commercial and recreational fishing, abundance went up inside reserves and down on the outside. Since 80 percent of the habitat is outside of the reserves, the data suggest that the total abundance of the targeted fish species actually declined. The gains inside were more than offset by the decreases on the outside.

In the case of the Channel Islands reserves, the creation of a protected area had a negative impact on abundance. In many other cases, protected areas have little to no impact. Two of the most heralded successes of the marine conservation movement have been the establishment of large protected areas in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and the western Pacific US territories. If the measure of success is the amount of area proclaimed as protected, these are significant achievements. But if the objective is effective protection against real threats, the achievement is less because there was little, if any, human impact in those areas before protection.

There are many threats to marine ecosystems, including oil spills, exotic species, runoff from terrestrial sources, illegal fishing, excessive legal fishing, ocean acidification, and global warming. The marine parks movement does not recognize that most “protected areas” only “protect” from legal fishing, and not much else. Advocates argue that unfished ecosystems are more resilient to environmental perturbations such as exotic species, yet the same argument, if valid, must apply to areas outside of reserves. Since fishing pressure has been redirected to unprotected areas, those ecosystems ought to be more vulnerable to the same perturbation.

Kareiva et al. argue that the new conservation “requires conservation to embrace marginalized and demonized groups,” and perhaps no group has been so demonized by the environmental movement as fishermen. Terms like “roving bandits” and “rapers and pillagers” permeate the public discussion. But luckily this is changing. The new marine conservation movement recognizes that conserving biodiversity requires more than merely controlling fishing. Progressive NGOs are working with fishing groups rather than demonizing them, a transformation that has entered into in marine conservation debates that attempt to find new solutions to the environmental impacts of fishing.

Kareiva et al. close by stating, “Protecting biodiversity for its own sake has not worked. Protecting nature that is dynamic and resilient, that is in our midst rather than far away, and that sustains human communities—these are the ways forward now.” This is as true in the marine world as in the terrestrial. There is certainly a role for protected areas. But the bulk of marine biodiversity will always be in the dynamic areas outside of them, areas that must be sustainably managed as we go forward.

Ray Hilborn is a professor in the school of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington.

1. Hamilton, S. L., J. E. Caselle, D. P. Malone, and M. H. Carr. 2010. “Incorporating biogeography into evaluation of the Channel Islands marine reserve network.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0908091107.

 

Mar 26 2012

Estimated 1,000 Fishermen Rally for Reform in Protest Staged in Nation’s Capital

Recreational and commercial fishermen gather on Capitol Hill  on Wednesday to call for reform of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act. AP Photo 

Written By By Don Cuddy

Around 1,000 commercial and recreational fishermen from around the country gathered near the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to call attention to the regulatory difficulties facing the fishing industry on the East and West coasts.

The rally, billed as Keep Fishermen Fishing, was organized to seek reforms to the Magnuson Stevens Act, the law that governs fishing in federal waters.

Fishermen and industry groups have long complained that inflexible and onerous regulations are hampering their ability to fish and forcing some independent fishermen to abandon their traditional way of life.

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell was among those who spoke at the rally. “There was a great show of support from the fishing community and a big turnout from Congress,” he said. Several senators and around a dozen House members spoke at the gathering, according to the mayor, including a large New England delegation that included Massachusetts Sens. John Kerry and Scott Brown and Reps. Barney Frank, John Tierney and Bill Keating.

Bristol County District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter, running against Keating for Congress in the 9th District, also spoke.

Mitchell, who estimated the crowd at 1,000, focused his remarks on the need to keep fishermen in New England on the water by adopting greater flexibility in the rigid timelines established for rebuilding fish stocks.

“We need regulations geared to the reality at sea and we need more money for research and better stock assessments,” he said.

Read the rest of the article on SouthCoastToday.