Nov 20, 2014 3:54 PM
New regulations could hurt NH fisherman
PORTSMOUTH - Fishermen in New Hampshire and Maine are bracing themselves for one of their toughest seasons yet.
It's not the weather or increased competition, but new federal regulations restricting where they can fish, and how much cod they can catch. According to the New England Fishery Management Council, the cod population needs to see major regrowth.
Fisherman like Jamie Hayward disagree. He said, "The fishermen feel as though the cod aren't in dire straits. This is somewhat of a knee jerk reaction to a poor assessment."
The council says the spawning level for cod is at an all-time low.
Jeremy Davis has been fishing out of Portsmouth for four decades. He says these new changes worry him because of the huge impact past regulations have had on fisherman.
"Now all those guys are out of business, and I'm just about there," Davis said.
Davis has not done the kind of fishing that catches cod in three years. He was preparing his boat, but an emergency restriction stating each vessel can only bring in 200 pounds of cod at a time has him ready to stay docked. He says whether or not you bring it to shore, you have to pay for it.
"I'd like to think I could keep it down under 200 but say I caught 4,000, you know by accident. That would just do me in. I wouldn't be able to afford it," Davis said.
"I don't know how I'm going to survive, but fishermen are resilient. It's unfortunate, but time heals all wounds," Hayward said.
The new regulations go into effect in May 2015.