Just three years ago, the industry was told that the Gulf of Maine cod stock was rebounding and was expected to be fully rebuilt by 2014. The following year, they were told the models had been wrong and the stock was actually approaching depletion. Fishermen continued to express concern with the science behind the stock assessments on Wednesday.
"For this reason, we urge you to reconsider your decision and set the 2013 Annual Catch Limits to reduce over-fishing for these species at levels that will allow the industry to survive," the senators wrote. "If your decision is not reversed, nearly all fishing jobs in our state will be lost, and it is likely that the fishing industry that has thrived in New Hampshire for generations will soon cease to exist." Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, and Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH
Bullard said failures by fishery managers are ultimately to blame for weak stocks that haven’t rebounded.
“We set the rules and clearly the rules have failed,” he said. “There’s no other conclusion.”
"The first thing we have to do is put denial behind us," John Bullard
“We’re not talking about, ‘Oh yeah, we’re going to have a tough year next year,’” “We’re talking about, you know, that’s it.’”David Goethel
"I'm bankrupt. That's it," said fisherman Paul Vitale, 40, a third-generation fisherman from Gloucester, Mass. "I'm all done. The boat's going up for sale."
"We are headed down the wrong course here, of exterminating the inshore fleet, for no good reason," said David Goethel, a New Hampshire fisherman and council member.
"It's fantasy," Goethel said. "I mean, I'd rather go to Disney World. I've got a better chance of meeting Peter Pan."
"It can't be this council's fault or the industry's fault that the advice we've gotten for 10 years is wrong," he told the council Wednesday. Brian Loftus, a Point Judith, R.I., fisherman, blasted the council, saying its management has been "a complete and utter failure for everybody."
"A far worse result would be to fail to take the kind of action that would secure a future for this fishery," Peter Shelley
"This ruling will put many fishermen out of business," said Angelo Ciocca, president of Nova Seafood in Portland and part-owner of a few fishing vessels. "This is the end of the Gulf of Maine fishing industry. It's a sad day for New England, it's a sad day for fishing and it's a sad day for the country."
"All I'm trying to do is support my family. Reducing the quotas reduces my child's ability to go to college," said Chadwick, who said his family has been fishing since 1860. "What job out there today is going to support my family?"
"The stocks aren't there, based on what they are seeing," Martens said.
"In the short term, fishing communities will suffer from the reductions," Raymond said. "If the collective goal is to rebuild stocks ... then if we don't start looking at the causes of the problem, we are not going to find a solution."
"It's difficult to see how you're going to cover $3.50-a-gallon gas if you're getting a 60-cent return on pollock," Raymond said. "I don't know what these men are going to do for other work."
"This is your best available science, and science consistently overestimates biomass," said Peter Shelley, senior counsel for the Conservation Law Foundation, during public testimony before the final vote. "There is no biological hope on the horizon."
Robert Dunne of Gloucester,"I want a state job. A government job," he said. "We have to adapt."
Councilor Goug Grout of New Hampshire noted “the end of the fishery.”
“I don’t see myself leaving the dock next year, I’m not sure we’re going fishing (anymore),” Gloucester fisherman Joe Orlando said.
“We did everything that was asked of us,” he said. “No one’s going to be able to buy or sell quota. The docks and the stores” will be quiet, Vitale said in opposing the new catch levels.
“(With) Gulf of Maine cod, there’s not enough to sustain the fishery. The game is over,” said Vito Giacalone, policy director for the Northeast Seafood Coalition. He added that it was “tough to support a motion that says the best we’ve got is to collapse the fishery on the heels of a disaster.”
“A plant shuts down. A person who’s worked there for 30 years all of the sudden goes to the factory door and it’s closed,” “You learn a new trade and you adapt. ... People adapt and they survive.” John Bullard
Council member Laura Ramsden of New Bedford said cutting quotas "does not help fish stocks, but it is easy to do, so we do it."
"We have been slowly, seemingly inexorably, sliding to oblivion," Bullard said. "We have to change course, otherwise impacts are going to be upon us anyway. I do not deny the costs that are going to be paid by fishing families and fishing communities. I do not deny the costs. They are real. They will hurt."
"It's a very big industry, you don't see the guy who supplies ice, fuel, smaller guys; it's sort of a domino effect. It's not like a big factory closing where you would see people out of work, what's happening is what you will see is a ripple effect,”
"It's really grim," "These stocks are in real decline and questions were raised about whether they'll ever come back."Pat Fiorelli, a spokeswoman for the council.
"We've got a lot of guys who have been working very hard to create businesses that are solvent and this cut is going to be really hard on them," Martens said.
"We're trying to find some accommodation here between an inflexible policy and a situation that puts both commercial and recreational fisheries on the road to extinction," David Goethel
"I think our federal government has absolutely abandoned us and failed the fishing communities," Goethel's wife Ellen
“Fishermen are eternal optimists. Every day I go to sea I’m going to have the best day I ever had in my life,” “So, yeah, I’m always optimistic that somehow, some way I haven’t figured out how yet, we’ll find a way out of this mess.” David Goethel
"This collision is just constantly taking place. This seems to be the train wreck of all train wrecks," he said. "It's time for something to be done. If the agencies say it's the law (and) if Congress doesn't like it, then Congress should change it." Erik Anderson
“The problem for fishermen in my state is now one of survival. New Hampshire fishermen, who have already seen their incomes decrease significantly in recent years, depend on cod more than fishermen from any other state in New England. Cod accounts for more than 90 percent of our revenues. Sen. Shaheen