Gloucester Daily Times Op-Ed: Regulators need to address human dimension of fisheries


The local newspaper in Gloucester is a great source for all the latest news impacting our local fishing fleet, especially when it comes to broadcasting the opinions of fishermen and local industry advocates. A recent op-ed published on Friday Oct. 3 highlights comments shared from the recent New England Fisheries Management Council meeting in Hyannis. As this article points out, the human dimension involved in the regulation of our local fishery seems to be the most overlooked, with regulators often disregarding the enormous economic and social consequences of drastic cuts to fish quotas and strict limitations on fishing practices in this region.

Gloucester Daily Times Editorial: ‘Human’ toll can’t be lost amid fisheries response

“Amid all the debate, all the understandable anger and cynicism on the part of fishermen, and all the hand-wringing rhetoric from NOAA officials and the New England Fisheries Management Council, it was Gloucester’s own Angela Sanfilippo — longtime president of the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives’ Association — who delivered words that most needed to be said.

Addressing the regional fishing management panel Wednesday as it considered even more drastic cuts to the commercial landing limits on cod, Sanfilippo called for the council and for NOAA to recognize — for once — what is truly at stake in these deliberations.

 “We’ve been talking about fish here this morning,” Sanfilippo said. “I want to talk about humans. I’ve seen more fishermen and fishermen’s wives cry on the other side of my desk than I can ever remember. Please, the system has to respond not just to the fish, but to the humans.”

Amen. Amen. Amen.

Sanfilippo’s views, of course, should go without saying — but the fact is, they needed to be said during Wednesday’s New England Council meeting in Hyannis, and they need to be repeated and heard over and over again.

Yes, provisions within the Magnuson-Stevens Act require NOAA and the nation’s fishery management councils to consider the economic impact on fishing communities — the human toll on fishermen, fishing families, and business owners whose livelihood also depends on the fishing industry and waterfront — when considering regulatory policies and mandates. Yet, time and time again, NOAA has ignored that statute and been allowed by Congress to get away with it.”


You can read the whole op-ed by clicking here for the Gloucester Daily Times website.