Capt. Gregory Mayhew, a Vineyard native and lifelong resident of Chilmark, runs the 75-foot steel dragger Unicorn out of Menemsha. This summer, for the first time in more than 20 years, he went sea scalloping. The reason, he said, is economics.
The question of how cod stocks fell so low in the waters off New
England is almost as perplexing as the question of how to bring about
The favorite reason - too much fishing pressure - is
followed by other explanations, including changes in ocean temperature
and degradation of the environment. Perhaps it is a combination of these
Pinpointing the cause or causes of plummeting cod stocks is key to
The Quitsa Strider II sits rusting at the dock in Menemsha. Her skipper Jonathan Mayhew, who has devoted his life to commercial fishing, has sold his days at sea. A Gloucester fishing cooperative has bought the permits that allow him to fish in federal waters.
One of Menemsha’s most respected fishermen, Jonathan Mayhew, has quit fishing the high seas.
Mr. Mayhew recently sold his federal permits, giving up his license to ply the offshore waters of Georges Bank for cod, flounder and other fish.
A Vineyard native who grew up in a family of generations of fishermen, Mr. Mayhew, 56, said a chapter has closed in his life. He said he worries now for the future of young local fishermen facing current fishing rules.
The changes that have come down are killing the fisherman and not necessarily saving fish, he said.
Yo-yoing, a fishing technique commonly used by commercial striped bass fishermen in Massachusetts and elsewhere, should be outlawed, according to Brad Burns, president of Stripers Forever, a national nonprofit organization that advocates treating striped bass as a game fish in state waters.
For Edgartown shellfishermen, it would be unconscionable to have an autumn and winter without fishing for and harvesting bay scallops. On Cape Cod and Long Island, however, the scallops have all but disappeared.
Warren Gaines, deputy shellfish constable for Edgartown, has spent the past two summers making sure the bay scallop fishery in town remains healthy and viable. His expanding efforts follow a bit of a scare when, for at least a decade, bay scallop landings from Cape Pogue Pond haven’t been up to waterfront expectations.
THE MOST IMPORTANT FISH IN THE SEA, by H. Bruce Franklin. Island Press / Shearwater Books, Washington, 2007, 266 pages.
Eleven years ago, a group of Island fishermen went to Sandwich to attend a public hearing on the management of striped bass. We all sat in an overcrowded auditorium and listened. One commercial lobsterman stood before the regulators and complained too many striped bass were eating his lobsters and ruining his fishery.
An American president rarely speaks on a fisheries issue, but George W. Bush did so two weeks ago.
President Bush recently came out with an executive order directing the National Marine Fisheries Service to prohibit the commercial harvesting of striped bass and red drum in federal waters. A moratorium already is in place on the catching of striped bass in federal offshore waters for all commercial and recreational fishermen, so nothing changes.