To the editor:
So, here's my report on the first week's rat race under catch shares.
Made six trips, had two boardings, two onboard observers, and five dockside monitors.
Fishing only 20 nets of 7-inch gear (we are allowed 60 and 6.5-inch gear as minimum mesh size) we landed roughly 31 percent of our full annual allocation of codfish, and that was trying to stay away from the fish!
Even more lethal than that is the status of one of my own personal "choke species" — Gulf of Maine winter flounder. Out of the whopping allocation of 250 pounds, we landed 177 — which represents 71 percent.
This was simply bycatch. We weren't using any flounder gear. With discarding of legal-sized fish now illegal. We might squeak out three or four more days before we exceed our annual allocation and are required to stop fishing until next May.
The level of mandatory oversight is insulting and infuriating — as is the redundancy and complexity of reporting requirements.
This is shaping up to be the shortest and the longest year of my career. Just think — only 51 more weeks until I get another handful of fish.
This is a coldly calculated death trap. Everyone has one, or more, of these nooses in their allocation.
F/V Sasquatch, Gloucester