Another Year of Operation Approved for RI Fluke Sector Program

Emilie Litsinger, EDF Oceans NE Groundfish Project Manager

Emilie Litsinger, EDF Oceans NE Groundfish Project Manager

This week marks another historical step towards achieving sustainable fisheries management in New England.  The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) just approved another year of operation for the Rhode Island Fluke Sector Program.  The approval of this year’s program was contingent on the results from the pilot sector last year.  

DEM presented the results of the 2009 program at a Roundtable meeting in mid-February.  The results from the 2009 program were very positive, showing benefits to the resource as well as the fishermen.  In fact, the pilot program participants discarded some 98% less fluke than non-participants and were also subject to higher monitoring coverage. 

The program’s proven ability to reduce regulatory discards will ultimately lead to an increase in the State of Rhode Island’s quota, benefitting the entire fishery.  The results also showed the program’s proven capacity to provide accurate data that facilitates a sound, scientifically based approach to the continuing analysis of sector allocation as a potential strategy for improving the management of fluke. 

The sector participants reported that their participation in the program resulted in enhanced economic efficiencies, an improved ability to make sound and safe business decisions, a cooperative and collaborative orientation among fellow participants, and a heightened sense of well-being and job satisfaction.  The University of Rhode Island also conducted an economic analysis on the performance of the sector in 2009.  Their preliminary results showed that not only did the sector participants benefit economically from the program, but the non-sector members benefitted positively as well. 

We applaud DEM for continuing to support this worthwhile program and are certain that the results from this year’s program will continue to show positive benefits to both the resource and the fishermen.

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