Maine Congresswomen Say Sectors are Working for Local Fishermen


Portland Head Light, marking the southwest entrance to Portland Harbor (Photo Credit: Maine Department of Conservation)

The success of the new sectors approach to groundfish management, in which fishermen fish in community-based cooperatives (“sectors”) allocated a share of the annual catch limit in the fishery, is becoming more and more recognized as politicians such as Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree are speaking out in favor of the new system. Today, Congresswoman Pingree issued a press release declaring that the new sector regulations are working and noting that under the sector system, revenue for Maine fishermen is up over the previous year. The press release, which can be read in full here, also notes that Congresswoman Pingree spoke with Eric Schwaab, the top federal fisheries regulator, to reinforce her support for the current system and ask him to keep the regulations in place. A recent article in the Portland Press Herald also offered evidence of sectors’ success with quotes from a Maine sector fisherman saying that the new program has allowed fishermen to earn more money and reduce bycatch. The article also noted that Maine Senator Olympia Snowe recently asked federal regulators to continue with the sector system. CLF has long been on the record in support of Amendment 16 and the sector management plan it created, and it’s certainly encouraging to hear our local leaders and fishermen agree that sectors are helping to rebuild New England’s groundfish stocks and sustain its coastal communities.

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