Fisheries Survival Fund
Fisheries Survival Fund (FSF) was established in 1998 to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Atlantic sea scallop fishery. FSF participants include the vast majority of full-time Atlantic scallop fishermen from Maine to North Carolina.
Scallop & Fishing Industry, Municipalities, Sue Feds to Ensure Seafood Interests Are Considered in NY Bight Wind Energy Project
Robert B. Vanasse
WASHINGTON (NCFC) – December 8, 2016 – The Fisheries Survival Fund (FSF), which represents the majority of the limited access Atlantic scallop fleet, is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking a preliminary injunction to delay an anticipated lease sale for the development of a 26-mile long wind farm project approximately 11 miles off the coast of Long Island, scheduled for December 15, 2016. The story was broken today by the Associated Press.
The filing alleges that the leasing process for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) did not adequately consider the impact the proposed New York Wind Energy Area would have on the region’s fishermen. The site chosen for the 127 square mile wind farm is in the waters of the New York Bight on vital, documented scallop and squid fishing grounds, which serves as essential fish habitat and grounds for other commercially important species, including black sea bass and summer flounder. It is also an important foraging area for threatened loggerhead sea turtles and critically endangered North Atlantic right whales.
The lawsuit argues that fishermen’s concerns regarding the location of the lease area received “virtually no attention or analysis” from government officials ahead of the planned December 15 lease sale, despite fishing stakeholders repeatedly making their concerns known. It further states that BOEM failed to identify the proposed wind farm’s environmental, economic, social, and cultural impacts, and failed to “consider alternative sites in an open, collaborative, public forum.”
Several other members of the National Coalition for Fishing Communities (NCFC)—including commercial fishing organizations, businesses, and communities that depend on the sustainable use of Atlantic Ocean resources—have joined the lawsuit. The suit was filed against Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, BOEM, and BOEM Director Abigail Hopper.
Organizations joining the lawsuit include: the Garden State Seafood Association and the Fishermen’s Dock Co-Operative in New Jersey; the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association in New York; and the Narragansett Chamber of Commerce and Rhode Island Fishermen’s Alliance in Rhode Island.
The City of New Bedford, Massachusetts, the nation’s top-grossing fishing port; the Borough of Barnegat Light, New Jersey; and the Town of Narragansett, Rhode Island have joined as plaintiffs. Also joining are three fishing businesses: SeaFreeze Shoreside, Sea Fresh USA, and The Town Dock.
The New York Bight consists of the waters from Cape May Inlet in New Jersey to Montauk Point on the eastern tip of Long Island, and offshore to the outer edge of the Continental Shelf, where the coasts of New York and New Jersey form an upside-down L around shallow waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
The plaintiffs are represented by the law firm of Kelly, Drye & Warren. The case will be heard by Judge Tanya Chutkan in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Case No. 1:16-cv-02409.
Press inquiries should be directed to Bob Vanasse at Stove Boat Communications, 202-333-2628.
Representatives from several of the plaintiffs, listed below, filed declarations explaining their support for the lawsuit:
- Fisheries Survival Fund (read a second declaration from FSF here and read a declaration filed in support of FSF from the Coonamessett Farm Foundation here)
- Garden State Seafood Association
- Long Island Commercial Fishing Association
- Narragansett Chamber of Commerce (Narragansett, RI)
- Fishermen’s Dock Cooperative (Port Pleasant, New Jersey)
- Rhode Island Fishermen’s Alliance
- City of New Bedford, Massachusetts
- Borough of Barnegat Light, New Jersey
- Town of Narragansett, Rhode Island
Fisheries Survival Fund Opposes An Atlantic Marine Monument; Says It Contradicts The President’s Own Order
WASHINGTON – May 4, 2016 – The organization representing the Atlantic sea scallop industry, one of the most economically valuable fisheries in the nation, has written to the White House opposing the creation of an Atlantic Marine Monument, noting that such an action subverts public processes, and contradicts the President’s own executive order on public participation in the regulatory process.
The Fisheries Survival Fund (FSF), an organization that comprises the majority of the Limited Access Atlantic sea scallop fleet, is one of the many stakeholders that frequently participates in the public fisheries management process. FSF opposes any attempts to circumvent this process, as noted in the letter.
“We strongly urge the President to not designate any marine monuments in New England, but rather to allow the public process to continue moving forward,” states the letter, which was sent to the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “Let the President’s legacy be that he allowed the public to have a voice in how we manage our shared resources.”
The White House has been considering designating an offshore monument in the Northeast Atlantic at the behest of several environmental groups, an authority granted by the Antiquities Act. President Bush previously used this authority to create two expansive monuments in the Pacific Ocean around Hawaii and the Northern Mariana Islands.
As argued in the letter, “Public areas and public resources should be managed in an open and transparent manner, not an imperial stroke of the pen.” In fact, several regulations have already been developed through the Council process that ensure fisheries are properly conserving and managing marine resources.
FSF’s position mirrors that of Executive Order 13563, authored by President Obama himself, which states in part that regulations must be based on the best available science, involve public participation, and include greater coordination across agencies. The current management system is more consistent with these standards than a monument designation, which could be abused by a few select insiders. Through regional councils, the government is already protecting Cashes Ledge and deep-water corals.
If the Administration insists on the designation of a monument, the President should accept recommendations made by members of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Rhode Island Delegation, in consultation with other regional fisheries organizations, and approved unanimously by the ASMFC. Their proposal would ensure the protection of deep-water corals and ocean canyon substrates while allowing for fishing that would not affect the protected areas.
Omnibus Habitat Amendment 2
One of the major issues of concern to Fisheries Survival Fund is the adoption of Omnibus Habitat Amendment 2 (OHA2).
In June 2015, the New England Fishery Management Council approved OHA2, a complete overhaul of the closed areas off the coast of New England. OHA2 is the culmination of 10 years of work and updates New England’s closed areas according to the latest and most complete science, in a way that best protects the region’s ocean habitats.
OHA2 is the first major reform of New England’s closed areas since they were initially implemented in the 1990s. Since then, we’ve greatly expanded our knowledge of the seafloor, and we now have a much better understanding of which marine environments are in most need of protection. OHA2 takes full advantage of these developments, and locates habitat closures in areas where they will do the most good and protect the most vulnerable habitat. In every objective measure, OHA2 is a vast improvement over the status quo in New England.
NOAA has developed a tool to show the areas under consideration for closure. Click on the picture above to learn more.
History of the Scallop Industry
“The Pearl of The Atlantic” is a 1963 classic documentary on the New Bedford Scallop industry. This restored 28 minute vintage film features the history of the scallop and showcases the industry at that time.