Fishermen and association members like myself, a retired fisherman from Gloucester, Massachusetts, should take note that thanks to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and restrictions on cod, flounder and other species, our fleet has gone from 200 vessels to 60 in just five years (at the same time, Maine’s groundfishing fleet has gone from 63 vessels to about 50). And every day, more are put out of business.

Based on their science, and only theirs, our livelihoods are being destroyed. We have fought with them, but it is a losing battle.

For this reason, we have what we think could be a solution to our problems: to have our senators and members of Congress adopt a Fish Bill, like the Farm Bill. After all, fishermen are farmers of the sea and should be entitled to the same benefits as they are. The basic concept is we will reduce our fishing on species that NOAA says are in danger, but the government will reimburse us the difference until the stocks rebuild, then the compensation will be reduced.

This is a win-win situation for all, including environmentalists. To get involved, please call me at 978-491-7722 or email me at [email protected].

We already have 30 people on the board of directors and we welcome more so we can show total unity among our fishing industry. I am not paid, and neither are any of the board members. This is all voluntary. We will meet by email to start. Please join us today.

Sam Parisi

Gloucester, Mass.