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A group of New England fishermen has launched the New England Fisherman Stewardship Association (NEFSA), a non-profit, nonpartisan advocacy group, “to fight against needless regulation and offshore wind development threatening the viability of the American fishing fleet.”

The group said that the fishing industry across the nation is under attack from regulations that “drive fishermen from their waters in droves.”

Specifically, the group noted how regulators are set to enforce an 82 percent reduction in haddock landings for commercial fishermen as of May 1.

“Moreover, Regulators force American fishermen to use nets with a lower yield than their Canadian competitors. As a result, Canadian boats can land more fish, then come to the U.S. to compete in our market,” per NEFSA.

NEFSA said that almost 10 million acres had been designated for siting and offshore wind development in Georges Bank and the Gulf of Maine.

“I’m pleased that men and women from across the fleet – offshoremen, lobstermen, and scientists – have joined our board of directors to work collaboratively for the first time. No matter our trade, we must band together to fight these common threats on our industry. I encourage all people of goodwill—Democrats and Republicans, trawlers and hook boats, workers, and environmentalists—to join with NEFSA to protect our jobs, the onshore workers who depend on us, and the maritime heritage we fishermen have proudly stewarded since the founding of America,” said Jerry Leeman, the group’s Executive Director.

NEFSA said the group is an umbrella organization for fishermen in the region, meaning that it works to advance common goals regardless of the species fishermen catch. Leeman, the group’s Executive Director, is a commercial fishermen and its board includes various stakeholders such as scientists, businessmen, and fishermen of various kinds.

Photo Credit: NEFSA

Ryan Doyle
Urner Barry