, Gloucester, MA

Top Stories

April 8, 2011

NOAA eyes new limits on permit holdings

Nearing the end of the first fishing cycle conducted under a radically new management and allocation system, the federal government has laid the groundwork for limiting excessive accumulation of catch privileges, and protecting the interests of smaller, independent boats struggling to stay economically afloat.

A signal of pending action to protect the diversity of the groundfishing industry — perhaps by port-community, gear type and vessel size, or some combination — came Thursday with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's announcement that it had set Thursday, April 7, as a "control date."

The decision puts the industry on notice that pre-existing and post-existing policies that might be written in the future could vary — and that permit acquisitions made after the date "may be treated differently than those acquired before the date," according to the NOAA announcement.

The New England Fishery Management Council, which asked NOAA in January to establish a control date, is scheduled, at its late April meeting in Mystic, Conn., to resume discussing if and how the government intends to attempt to protect fleet diversity.

"We meant to put people on notice that any permit consolidation could be treated differently," said New Hampshire Councilor David Goethel, who made motions both for the control date and another directing completion of a draft white paper on fleet diversity.

"We might do something, we might not," he said.

"We are concerned," he said, but for now, "We don't have what I'd call hard data — just a general feeling of unease. The council has been requesting information that (NOAA) has been trying to compile on who owns what and it is more complicated than we thought."

Goethel predicted that the question of fleet diversity "will be discussed at every meeting in the foreseeable future."

There is no consensus on what kind or even whether limits on fleet diversity should be written, Goethel said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Top Stories

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
AP Video
Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires