Madam Chairwoman and members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify
before you this morning. My name is Brian Rothschild. I am the Montgomery Charter Chair of
Marine Science at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. I also Chair the Mayor’s Ocean
and Fisheries Council in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the largest fishing port in the Nation in
terms of value. Our Council is a sounding board for much of the Massachusetts fishing industry.
I bring you their greetings.
In my testimony this morning, I want to provide background on the initiation of the catch-share
concept in New England and point out structural and conceptual difficulties that make the catch-
share initiative an “experiment” rather than an example of implementation of a well thought out
public policy. I conclude that it is necessary to 1) maximize economic survival of participants
during the first year by relaxing annual catch limits (ACLs) without overfishing; 2) facilitate and
accelerate an independent coherent review of the status of the stocks in New England waters; 3)
establish bold new and innovative scientific programs focused directly on the needs of fishery
management; 4) establish a systems engineering/inventory management approach to day-to-day
fisheries management; and 5) refocus budget and programs on the needs of fishery management.
We also need institutional reform, including 1) making the New England Fishery Management
Council an elected body; 2) institutionalizing a systems of checks and balances in the Agency;
and finally 3) “consulting with the people” on how to reform fisheries management in New
England by establishing an ad hoc New England Fishery Management Reform Commission…. To read the remainder of Dr. Rothschild’s testimony, please click below
This testimony was originally given by Dr. Rothschild on April 22, 2011 to the House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife.