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Atlantic Cod

Marine Protected Areas & Atlantic Cod

Viewpoints

Dr. Vaughan Anthony

Dr. Vaughan Anthony

Scientific and Statistical Committee of the New England Fishery Management Council, Boothbay, Maine

Limit the size of the trolls. Do not allow them to use rockhopper gear. Limit the size and horsepower of their vessels. Have sanctuaries in certain places, bigger mesh sizes—a whole variety of things. Make it harder for them to land the fish. Make it more inefficient for them because they're so good at catching them.

Most of the complaints out of fishermen are, "We want to go fishing like we did in the old days; we don't really want to get rich." But many of these guys bought several boats and they're going in to optimize their profits and made a big business out of it. And then when some of these guys can't pay for the boat, they say, "What do I do? Bail me out." And now they're begging the government to bail them out and give them the money because they bought a boat and they don't have the inventory.

They're just poor businessmen. If you're running a general store and you do that, tough, you'll go bankrupt. But if you're a fisherman or a farmer, the government bails you out.


Dr. Callum Roberts

Dr. Callum Roberts

Conservation Marine Biologist, University of York, UK

There's nothing new about marine reserves; it's an old concept. The problem is that over the last 200 years or so of fishing we have gradually been working our way to the ends of the earth.

Those natural refuges that existed when we didn't fish everywhere were very important in sustaining fisheries because they provided the offspring that were necessary to replenish fishing grounds. But as we've eroded away those refuges, we've also seen a general decline in fish production and what we have to do today is to put those refuges back. We have to create them artificially.

Reserves are like money in the bank because what they do is to protect the spawning stocks of fish. And as those spawning stocks grow in size so does the deposit in your bank account that's larger. And that deposit yields interest in the way of eggs and larvae that are produced by the fish inside the reserves and those are transported into fishing grounds thus replenishing the fishery. Reserves are a necessary part of fishery management today.


Barbara Stevenson

Barbara Stevenson

New England Fishery Management Council, fishing vessel owner

I believe that we should recognize our limits. And so I believe in the concept of husbanding rather than managing. Mother Nature will do what Mother Nature is going to do, but we can do a lot to be sure that we get the maximum benefit out of whatever we happen to have.

I think that there's been much too much belief that the science can tell us things that it can't tell us. And we need to step back, do what we can do and aid the science in learning. But this is science; it's not facts. We're not talking about the speed of a train or something that's easily measurable and you can do the calculations. It's very difficult. And the amount that we don't know is just staggering.

The one thing that bothers me is when you hear scientists who say 'Well, let's try this; this'll be a great experiment." And they're talking about my life. That disturbs me greatly.