Fisheries Licensing

Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries supports a fisheries licensing system that allows fishermen coastal access based on adapting to the changing ecosystem. This is different from the current single-species management approach.  We advocate for a system based on stewardship credits — credits that would be accumulated by owner-operated fishermen who participate in the practices of sound stewardship.  Credits would qualify individual fishermen to obtain a multi-purpose commercial fishing license.

Determining access based on stewardship facilitates adaptive decision making by creating a culture and system of support for collaboration, communication, and timely data collection.  All of these changes are necessary for flexible, multi-species ecosystem-based management.

In partnership with  Maine Sea Grant, Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries convened 40 North American fisheries specialists to create Principles for Managing Coastal Fishery Access.

From the workshops, 3 key observations emerged:

  1. Marine resources are a public trust and decisions regarding their use and management should always include perspectives from the broader public as well as current participants.
  2. Privatization is irreversible. Participants encouraged Maine to continue its independent, non-privatized management system that could lead to an equitable and effective coastal fishery licensing system that could be replicated.
  3. Owner-operated licensing is imperative.  This motivates personal responsibility and stewardship.