To the editor:
Recent articles in the Gloucester Daily Times have, we believe, suggested that the Northeast Seafood Coalition is an advocate for "catch shares" in the groundfish fishery, that NSC favors the interests of large boats, and that NSC is an advocate for catch shares precisely because catch shares favor the interests of large boats (see "Fish deputy ties cod loss to catch shares," The Times, Feb. 3).
The NSC has never been an advocate for sectors (which the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration has characterized as "catch shares"). The NSC organized sectors only when it became clear that the New England Fishery Management Council had before it no other remotely tenable option for the 255 businesses that are members of the NSC.
The NSC repeatedly has characterized the sectors it organized as "lifeboats" designed to save industry members from perishing in storms created by 10-year rebuilding requirements and constantly shifting assessment science.
The NSC also has pointed out repeatedly that sectors do not meet statutory requirements for "limited access privilege programs," and NSC was instrumental in NOAA's acknowledgment of this crucial point. (NSC organized Northeast Fishery Sectors 2-13; each of the 12 sectors is an independent entity, but all members of the 12 sectors are members of the NSC.)