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Building Robust Groundfish Sectors

Apr 8, 2014
Spring 2014

It's been almost four years since New England's groundfishing fleet underwent a seismic shift in management that created fishing cooperatives called sectors.

GMRI has been studying the industry's fishing behavior and business practices to help it build a strong and sustainable future. A full report of our progress is due out this summer, and a recently released executive summary outlines the complexity of the issues facing the industry.

As part of this project, we took a detailed look at the landings and revenue for each species caught by fishermen to understand their relative contribution and seasonality. We found that groundfish fishermen are increasingly reliant on non-groundfish species to support their business, which poses a growing challenge for sectors.

"Most sectors support themselves through a cents-per-pound royalty on groundfish landings," said Rachel Long, a GMRI project coordinator. "As their revenue from groundfish decreases, sector managers must look for new business models that can support both the individual members and the sector itself."