One Year Old, Catch-Share Sectors 'Effective For Business'

By Bob Seay

Apr. 29, 2011

It has been one year since fishermen in the Northeast began using a new system for regulating how much they could catch.

Until 12 months ago, the quantity of flounder, wolffish, cod and other groundfish that could be hauled in was kept in check by a system that limited the number of days a fisherman could be at sea. A lot of people who made their living from the ocean went bust and there were questions about the effectiveness of the days-at-sea regulations. But the new system is also being heavily criticized. It's called “sectors,” and it essentially works like a cooperative, pooling fishing rights based on past histories of members.    

Many fishermen in New England say the new system is worse than the old, arguing that it favors larger congolmerates over independent fishshermen. But not all fishermen think that sectors is a bad idea. Some are even embracing it as a way to save their industry.

Eric Hesse is one of them. He has been fishing these parts since 1984, based out of Wychmere Harbor in Harwich. Hesse spoke with Morning Edition's Bob Seay about why he thinks sectors are good for fishermen.

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