America's Top Fishing Port Addresses Groundfish Crisis

By George Backwell
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Top US Fishing Ports in 2012: Image credit Port of New Bedford

The Port of New Bedford says it has released its 6-pronged plan to revive its historic groundfishery and modernize the port. Details as follows:

According to the New Bedford Harbor Development Commission’s (HDC) "Groundfish Port Recovery and Revitalization Plan for the Port of New Bedford and Fairhaven," the region’s groundfish fishery stands to improve if fisheries scientists and managers apply similar video survey technology as that which helped revive the region’s now-successful scallop fishery.

Along with soliciting grant funds to develop video surveys for groundfish, as the nation’s number one fishing port, the city has released its recommendations for modifications to the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), the Federal law governing all domestic fisheries management.

The Port explains that the Revitalization Plan presents a counterpoint to NOAA’s recently released “Fisheries Economics of the U.S. 2012” report. While touting the “strong economic gains from fishing” and “continued improvement in fish stocks” in the nation’s fisheries, it gives scant attention to New England’s once-thriving groundfish fleet. The HDC’s plan, coupled with help from local leaders and academics, signifies a collaborative and proactive effort to reinvigorate the northeast groundfish fishery and solidify the port’s sustainable future.

“In the nineteenth century, New Bedford became the center of American whaling and today it remains one of the most important ports in the world,” said New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell. “New Bedford is the nation’s number one fishing port, and we intend to keep it that way for the next hundred years. We’re the best, and we’re going to stay the best. To do that, we need the best science in stock surveys and assessments—that is critical for both scallops and groundfish,” the mayor continued.

“I applaud the work of Dan Georgianna and his colleagues at the School for Marine Science and Technology at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth in compiling this report. We must do all we can to maintain New Bedford‘s economic contribution as the highest value catch port in the U.S." said State Senator Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford) who over the years has secured funding for port revitalization and fishing research, including funding for this Plan.

The Groundfish Port Recovery and Revitalization Plan for the Port of New Bedford and Fairhaven is available for dowload at: http://bit.ly/1iFxfjd

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