Catch Shares Take Toll Council Called To Task
by Mike Crowe
At the April New England Fishery Management Council meeting in Mystic, Conn., a dozen university students from New England, members of fishing families, other fishing organizations, and Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance community organizer Brett Tolley were in attendance. About a dozen people among this group wore orange “Who Fishes Matters” T-shirts.
Among the topics addressed, by these folks and several other groups, were the importance of Amendment 18 and its relationship to subjects such as fleet consolidation, reduced fleet diversity, the disappearance of the small boat fleet, and a report, paid for by the council, that said there was no evidence of consolidation.
The council chairman told Tolley there was no time for the group to comment during the public comment period. Tolley asked that the chair consider the long distances they had traveled to be at this public hearing. Again, the chair said no. He then publicly called Tolley a derogatory epithet. In the minds of critics of the council, that proved to be a statement that said much about how the council sees itself in relation to taxpaying citizens. (The council is overseen by the National Marine Fisheries Service. Members are selected by New England governors and appointed by the Secretary of Commerce.)