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Reflections from the other side of a cod crisis on “The Rock”

A few weeks ago, I traveled with a film crew from New Hampshire Public Television (NHPTV) to Newfoundland.

While there, we visited with scientists and fishermen to see what we could learn about their experiences since the 1992 Cod Moratorium.seagrant-header

Fishing boats in Petty Harbor, Newfoundland.  (Erik Chapman photo)

Fishing boats in Petty Harbor, Newfoundland. (Erik Chapman photo)

The trip was for a new NHPTV documentary being produced in partnership with NH Sea Grant/UNH Cooperative Extension about the groundfish crisis here in the Gulf of Maine.

We were particularly curious about what we’d find since cod stocks are finally beginning to recover and Newfoundlanders may be on the ‘other side’ of their cod crisis.

We found some familiar themes that kept us from being homesick: tensions between inshore versus offshore, and small-boat versus large-boat, fishermen; a lack of trust between fishermen, scientists and managers; concerns about the influence of big business on government action and regulations; and skepticism about processors paying a fair share to fishermen at the dock.

While these tensions still exist, they were really at a peak during the chaos leading into the 1992 Cod Moratorium.

Familiar themes

We found some familiar themes that kept us from being homesick: tensions between inshore versus offshore, and small-boat versus large-boat, fishermen; a lack of trust between fishermen, scientists and managers; concerns about the influence of big business on government action and regulations; and skepticism about processors paying a fair share to fishermen at the dock…

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