Fishing Regulators Discuss Upcoming Stock Assessments on Cape Cod

CHATHAM – Fishery regulators met with commercial and recreational fishermen throughout New England and New York last week to discuss upcoming assessments of key fish stocks.

NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center officials kicked off the “Port Outreach Meetings” in Chatham to discuss the process of how regulators are assessing the stocks of 20 species of groundfish.

The data primarily comes from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center’s spring and fall trawl survey, and from fishermen and observers.

“Those are the two streams of data that sort of give the scientists an opportunity to assess the relative health of the stock,” said John Pappalardo, the CEO of the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance.

Pappalardo said fishermen did not get any answers if there are more fish in certain stocks as official data is expected in the fall.

“Indications are that things are stable and improving on a variety of different stocks that we care about here on the Cape,” he said.

Pappalardo said there were indications that the cod stock is showing some signs of growth.

“Although we’ll have to wait until the official numbers come out,” he said. “They have to be reviewed by a peer review process.”

The numbers will be discussed at the New England Fishery Management Council level before quotas will be changed and set for three years.

Pappalardo said the numbers will likely reach the council table in December and new quotas will be set in May 2018.

Pappalardo feels confident that the overall health of the local fishing industry remains strong and viable.

“We’re at capacity, in terms of number of fishing boats in Chatham,” he said. “I think we have some work to do, fishermen and scientists, to bring more relevant and timely information into the quota setting process, but I think we are seeing an uptick.”

Pappalardo said the industry can be an economic driver for Cape Cod.

“It’s a year-round economic sector that employs a lot of folks and we feel very bullish, or positive about the future.”


Material from the Associated Press was used in this article

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