Friday, February 18, 2011

Higher Catch Limits Allowed in International Waters

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree announced recently that fishermen from Maine and other New England states will effectively be allowed to catch more haddock, scallop and other valuable groundfish species in waters shared with Canada.
This announcement was the result of negotiations between the U.S. and Canada and the increased share for American fishermen was made possible by a bill Pingree co-sponsored last year. The bill, signed into law President Obama last month, allows fisheries managers to set more equitable catch limits for U.S. fishermen in grounds shared with Canada.
This decision actually increases limits on yellowtail flounder, but since haddock and scallop are typically caught at the same time as flounder, a limit on flounder is effectively a limit on haddock, scallop and other valuable species.
For years, U.S. fisheries managers have been at a competitive disadvantage when negotiating catch limits for grounds shared by both the U.S. and Canada off the Northeast coast. Under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the U.S. has had to keep a 10-year timeline to restoring fish stocks while Canada did not have to follow a similar regulation. As a result, fishermen from Canada have been allowed much higher catch limits.