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N.H. Sea Grant
 

Fishing Industry-Funded Buyback Program Explored June 26

By Kathleen Schmitt
N.H. Sea Grant
603-749-1565

June 18, 2003


DURHAM, N.H. -- Congress has allocated funds to explore whether or not the groundfish industry is interested in designing and implementing an industry-funded buyback. Under the plan, the government would provide a loan to the industry to buy out some of the groundfish permit holders, and those remaining would pay back the money over time.

The Northeast Sea Grant Programs are holding meetings in late June in nine regional locations to provide information and give the industry an opportunity to discuss the pros and cons of such a buyback. NH Sea Grant will hold a meeting on Thursday, June 26, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Urban Forestry Center, 45 Elwyn Road, Portsmouth, NH.

Despite rises in groundfish numbers, fishing mortality remains too high for several species and Amendment 13 to the New England Fishery Management Council's Multispecies Fishery Management Plan may further restrict days-at-sea, expand closed areas, or impose other measures. Because fishing rates will likely be tightly controlled even after stocks rebuild, there is an interest in reducing capacity in the industry so that the remaining vessels can fish enough days to be profitable.

To help industry decide if this is a good opportunity, Peter Leipzig from the Fishermen's Marketing Association will discuss a recently authorized buyout on the West Coast. In addition, the various requisites mandated by the legislation will be presented. For example, before an industry-funded buyback can be implemented, two-thirds of the permit holders voting in a referendum must agree to the plan.

The meeting is open to the public. More information is available at http://mit.edu/seagrant/northeast/fisheries/workshops.html or from Rollie Barnaby, UNH Cooperative Extension/NH Sea Grant extension educator, (603) 679-5616 or rollie.barnaby@unh.edu.

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