A Dragger and Her Captain, Soon to Part Ways

Without any federal or state permits, the Unicorn is likely nearing the end of her long residency in Menemsha harbor. Capt. Greg Mayhew recently sold his groundfish permit — the last on the Vineyard — to The Nature Conservancy.

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Plenty of Fish in the Sea, But Red Tape Keeps Them There
The decline of the Vineyard's fisheries has little to do with a lack of fish and more to do with lack of access, Island fishermen say. A new regulatory system tends to favor larger companies that can afford to purchase quota from other fishermen and reinvest in equipment.
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Cod Stocks in Steep Decline, NOAA Report Says
A report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has found that cod stocks in the Gulf of Maine are at an all-time low.
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State Attorney General Goes to Court to Block New Fishing Rules

As efforts to revive the New England groundfishery grow increasingly contentious, the state attorney general Thursday filed a lawsuit challenging new fishing regulations in the Northeast, saying they rely on “highly suspect science” and do not account for the devastating economic impact on the state’s fishing industry.

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Painful Cuts for Groundfishermen Take Effect
As the struggle to save the foundering Northeast groundfishery continues, drastic cuts on landing limits for cod, yellowtail flounder and haddock went into effect this week. Adopted by the New England Fishery Management Council in late January and effective May 1, the cuts brought little cheerful news to the fishing communities up and down the New England coast.
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Council Delays Cuts to Groundfishery
The New England Fishery Management Council delayed a decision yesterday on drastic cuts to the ailing groundfishery, amid impassioned testimony from fishermen who said the deep cuts would spell the end of their livelihood. “[The fishery] has been declared a disaster . . . this will make it a reality,” said Frank Mirarchi, a Scituate draggerman. “This means the boats will fail and the families will fail. This will be the end of an era.”
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Drastic Cuts Looming for Disappearing Groundfishery

With the New England groundfishery now a bona fide federal disaster, fisheries managers are preparing to make drastic cuts to future allotments for cod and yellowtail flounder before the end of the year.

On Dec. 20 the New England Fishery Management Council will meet in Wakefield and is expected to cut up to 80 per cent of fishing allotments for cod and yellowtail flounder for the coming year. If they are approved, the cuts will take effect May 1, 2013.

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Code Red for the Groundfishery
The sadly troubled groundfishing industry finally hit bottom with last week’s formal declaration by the Obama administration that the New England fishery is a federal disaster. It’s hard to find a silver lining in this story: yellowtail and codfish stocks so depleted fisheries managers are predicting the need for drastic cuts in catch limits in the coming year; small draggermen out of work with bleak prospects for the future; political gridlock among regulators.
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Federal Lawmakers Call For Disaster Declaration In New England Fishery

Fishermen who pursue a variety of important fish on Georges Bank and the Gulf of Maine face drastic cuts in catch limits next year because of dwindling groundfish stocks. Cod and yellowtail flounder are in such a dire state that fisheries managers advising the New England Fishery Management Council are calling for catch limit cuts of 70 per cent or higher beginning next May.

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Scientists Study Groundfish Net by Net, Sifting the Sea in Pursuit of Knowledge

On an open sea deck, with the rolling waves of Georges Bank a mere eight feet away, Jon Brodziak cuts, and with tweezers takes a bone from each of the two inner ears of a haddock.

He places them in a small envelope for future study.

Then he does it again with another haddock. And again.

The bone is the otolith, which is used to tell the age of the fish; it is a far better measure than length.

Mr. Brodziak, along with several other scientists, is in the middle of a six-hour shift on the Albatross IV, in the pitch black night on the open ocean.

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