Friday, May 4, 2012

Why fleet diversity?

Diversity of the fishing fleet has become an important topic in our fishing communities.  Fleet diversity is the range and distribution of boat sizes that are used by our fishermen.  A diverse fleet has both large and small fishing boats which some believe imposes less of an impact on our marine ecosystems and supports more resilient fishing communities.  It has been argued that a diverse fleet  allows for fishing pressure to be distributed through management in a manner that is more flexible and adaptable to the needs of the marine ecosystem.   It has also been suggested that diverse fishing communities are more resilient because they also better able to adapt to ecological and management variability. 

Sector management introduces a system to our groundfishermen that poses a threat to fleet diversity by  creating an economic playing field that benefits the larger boats.  Thus, the net effect of this system would be to consolidate our fishing fleet to just the larger boats.  New Hampshire fishermen are mainly day fishermen who fish using smaller boats primarily in nearshore water.   In Maine, smaller dayboat fishermen are also facing challenges.  See this video below, posted by the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance which demonstrates how Maine Fishermen are responding to these trends in our fisheries:

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