The loss of the sight of fishing boats in the harbors along the New England coast will be a culture shock to a region that is rooted in harvesting the sea. Consumers will likely also feel the impact of the council’s ruling, perhaps with both higher prices and a scarcity of fish from the ocean outside their front doors.
Perkins could not guess the effect the council’s move will have on Yankee’s new fish market, opened specifically to help fishermen survive financially after the catch-share fishing limits policy halved their incomes. The store is popular because it sells locally caught fish, often the same day it arrives on Yankee’s dock, and the question now arises as to if there will be anyone catching fish for it to sell.
David’s Fish Market owner Gordon Blaney described the council’s decision as “terrible news” for fishermen.
“And if it’s terrible for the fishermen, it’s terrible for all of us,” Blaney said. “I expect demand for fish to stay strong because of the health benefits fish provide are over and above any other type of protein. And when demand stays high and supply diminishes, prices go up. I grew up around here, when fish used to be a blue-collar food staple. Now, many of those people may not be able to afford fish.”
Started by his grandfather, Arthur David, in 1946, Blaney’s has run the Bridge Road, Salisbury, business since 1977. He said he doesn’t believe the council’s actions will increase fish stock in the Gulf of Maine or that local fishermen over-fish the seas.
“In my opinion, and that of many who have spent their lives on the sea, it is ocean temperatures and not over-fishing that’s led to reductions in the fish population,” Blaney said. “This has happened before when fish left the area to go to other places because they liked the temperatures there better, then they’ve mysteriously come back. (These drastic fishing limits) are not going to solve the problem of ocean temperatures.”