Now is an ideal time for CM to focus on the Marine Resources Project: New England's cod, haddock, yellowtail flounder, and scallops are starting to come back. I always knew I'd be able to write those words, but I didn't know when. In 1991, when CLF filed its lawsuit against the National Marine Fisheries Service for its failure to prevent overfishing of New England's legendary groundfish stocks, the outlook was bleak. The region's fishermen went on to face a stream of regulations that determined where, when, and how they could fish, regulations that are slowly restoring those stocks. We still have a long way to go before they're fully rebuilt, but recent reports stir visions of what used to be -- and what could be again.
With rebuilt stocks of fish in the Gulf of Maine and on George's Bank, New England could soon have vibrant waterfronts again -- bustling piers lined with fishing boats, unloading a rich variety of sustainably caught seafood. It is vitally important to recognize that the fishing industry and its ability to deliver a wealth of fresh fish is the linchpin that anchors a much larger and economically important regional seafood processing and distribution industry, one that generates thousands of jobs, and billions in sales. Fishing is what attracted early settlers to our shores, and it remains at the core of New England's character. CLF wants to see the industry thrive again, which is why we're fighting to preserve a Boston landmark -- the Fish Pier (see story, page 39).
The fishing industry's shoreside infrastructure, economically weakened by decades of overfishing, has been under extreme pressure from developers who want to replace it with office buildings, condos, and restaurants. But New England will need that working waterfront. Boston is a major seafood distribution center. It makes sense to retain a vital Fish Pier, so that boats can steam into our revitalized harbor and unload their catches at the edge of downtown.
Ensuring that fish stocks continue to increase will remain a major focus of CLF's Marine Resources Project. But with every heartening report come new pressures to ease up on...