Ocean Plan Process Lacks Fishermen Participation
by Laurie Schreiber
PORTLAND—Working groups that are helping to develop the Northeast Regional Ocean Plan don’t have much in the way of fishery-specific membership.
And fishermen haven’t been showing up much at public meetings about the draft plan.
And yet commercial fishing is the industry most impacted by all other commercial uses of the ocean.
That was the consensus of the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) and other speakers, during a presentation on the draft plan at NEFMC’s meeting in June.
“I attended the listening sessions in Gloucester, Boston, and New Bedford,” said NEFMC member David Pierce. “Few, if any, fishermen were present.”
NEFMC agreed the draft plan (neoceanplanning.org/plan) is useful as a new tool for guiding ocean uses, by providing the Northeast Ocean Data Portal as an ongoing receptacle for data and map input that characterizes ocean management and policy that span human activities, cultural resources, and the ecosystem. The plan doesn’t directly address compatibilities of uses, but describes the occurrence of resources and activities. The data portal is meant to help with coordination between agencies and between various ocean users.