, Gloucester, MA

Latest Cape Ann News

July 15, 2010

Pollock limit hike gets mixed review

The federal Secretary of Commerce has officially approved a six-fold increase in the catch limit of pollock — a key stock and staple of the New England fishery.

Secretary Gary Locke — who last month stood by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration chief Jane Lubchenco and resisted urgings by a cadre of congressional lawmakers to hike a number of catch limits viewed as being unnecessarily low — confirmed Wednesday he was raising the limit on pollock from six to 36 million pounds.

But the move also comes months after the government, in its initial allocations, had cut the allowable pollock catch by 67 percent from the poundage landed by the New England fleet in 2008 — leaving fishermen with a limit this year that Vito Giacalone, policy director for the Gloucester-based Northeast Seafood Coalition, said at the time "stands to break the system."

Giacalone and the working fleet have insisted for months that NOAA Fisheries' trawl survey and the data on which the initial limits were based were seriously flawed, and that pollock remain plentiful.

Regulators predicted the increase last month, saying new science had showed pollock was far healthier than first believed.

One fishing industry group — the Cape Cod Hook Fishermen's Association, a focus of lawsuit and questions surrounding its alleged favored treatment by regulators — actually announced the pollock boost on its Web site and reacted to it, even though NOAA officials denied it had been finalized.

Tom Dempsey, a policy analyst at Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen's Association, told the online industry news service the revisions announced by Locke late Wednesday may be "the best news anyone has heard out here in a long while."

"Most sector fishermen say, 'This is going to allow me to stay on the water this year,'" Dempsey said, referring to the fishermen's "sectors," or cooperatives, set up under the new catch-share regulatory and economic format.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest Cape Ann News

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
Comments Tracker
AP Video Network
13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp