Policy & Advocacy

Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries is non-profit organization that provides programs and resources that bring value to fishermen on a daily basis.  It’s a grassroots, all-hands-on-deck effort.  We know and understand fishing because we live it.  But to build a secure future for the fishing industry in eastern Maine and beyond, there must be leadership and advocacy in fisheries management and regulation.  Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries is uniquely positioned to connect fishermen, scientists and government officials.

In a changing ocean, it’s imperative that fishermen have a place at the table where regulations are created. Our advocacy is based on a deep understanding that the knowledge of fishermen — their observations and participation –are critical to adopting policies that allow fishing within the bounds of local resources.

Furthermore, we now know that marine populations occur at a far more local scale then previously understood, as shown in recent research including that by Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries co-founder Ted Ames.

Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries not only creates and runs programs for fishing communities; we also spearhead efforts to build understanding and a cooperative approach to problem solving within the industry.  We sponsor conferences, partner with other organizations that share our goals,  meet with government leaders, testify before Congressional Committees, help decision makers and journalists get the facts and the fishermen’s perspective,  and generally use all the tools available to us  so that policy reflects the possibility of a long term future for fishing in Eastern Maine and beyond.

Principles for Managing Coastal Fishery Access

The following questions and principles were developed to lead discussions about reform to the state licensing system that governs management of inshore fisheries.

Will it sustain local communities and retain fish as a public resource? Fisheries should not be privatized but managed to sustain local communities and ensure that future generations have an equal or better opportunity to access fishery resources.

Does it promote owner-operated fisheries? Owner-operated fisheries must be promoted so that management is not driven by corporate interests.

Does it diversify fishing livelihoods? Fisheries must be managed in a way that promotes multi-species fishing livelihoods that allow fishermen to adapt to the natural fluctuations in abundance of commercial species and changes in markets, relieving fishing pressure on scarce species while maintaining fishing livelihoods.

Does it protect reproduction? Fisheries must be managed in a way that recognizes critical points in the life history strategies and spawning patterns of species.

Does it protect juveniles? Fisheries must be managed in a way that will allow adequate numbers of juveniles to reach reproductive age.

Will it maintain food chain relationships? Fisheries must be managed in a way that recognizes and protects food chain linkages.

Will it maintain critical habitat? All activities must be managed so as to maintain the integrity of habitats critical for spawning, juveniles and feeding.

Does it protect local stocks? Fisheries must be managed in a way that protects local stocks where there is a probability that they exist.

Does it establish effort controls and limits? Fisheries must be managed in a way that recognizes reasonable limits on harvesting capability. Local governance bodies must participate to reflect local fishing practices.