Although many reports about Gulf of Maine fish stocks-cod, haddock, cusk, flounder, and grey sole-are not optimistic, Ted Ames
, a scientist and 2005 MacArthur "genius," believes that a management system protecting juvenile fish and spawning grounds can turn around the traditional New England fishery.In an interview with me in Maine Magazine
, Ames says:If fish can reproduce, then we're going to have 10 times the fish we have now. It becomes kind of like watching a popcorn popper with the lid off. Here you have this little inner area that all of a sudden is blowing fish all over the place. It's producing the way that it used to historically. The question in the end is, Do we know it's going to do that? No. But we do know that if you allow fish to reproduce, if you allow them to grow to adult sizes, then there's a very good chance that you'll have more fish. Here is a way that we can improve the system for the fish and the fishermen.
Ames didn't come up with the model from years in the lab. He worked for years as a fisherman and a lobsterman. And his proposed model for collaborative area management is based on what he calls "the the biggest, most sustainable, most profitable fishery in New England": Maine's lobster industry.Read more about Maine's lobster industry in this guest post from Mark Bowen of OrganicNation.tv
.Photo by Nathan Eldridge.