As fishing families, all of that which contributes to the quality of our lives is directly attributable to the health of the stocks upon which we depend for our livelihood. How improbable that the success of our families, businesses or communities could ever exceed the sum health of the ecosystem in which we are privileged to harvest wild stocks. We are linked, as we should be. We here at Wild Rhody understand that and the awesome responsibility that it represents.
In recognition of our relationship with the environment, and our dependence on its health, the partners in Wild Rhody have been tireless advocates for fisheries management reform. We have proudly been leaders in a fight to fundamentally change the incentives of management from that which once produced a devastating race to fish to one where a responsible, controlled and sustainable harvest are possible.
The benefits of catch share systems
By moving to a system in which fishermen are allocated a portion of the entire allowable catch, the focus is turned from volume to quality. Gone is the sense of competition and urgency that has contributed to a general lowering of quality and compromised availability as quotas were filled with cheap, poor quality fish.
Catch share systems allow us to manage our catch as we see fit. Having control over our annual production allows us to match our catch to our overhead costs, much like every other business. Learning to fish to the prompts of our customer’s needs allows us to catch only what is needed to satisfy the. Catching lower volumes allows us to produce a quality that has rarely if ever been seen, and do it repeatedly.
Improving lifestyles and business
With the evolution of management, a reconsideration of our relationship with the ocean and the empowerment of a new and powerful business minded approach, we have transitioned from hunter gatherers to sound minded, thoughtful businessmen. These changes have contributed to a much improved lifestyle for the fishermen and the potential reward of restoring stocks to their highest ranges.
To paraphrase Aldo Leopold, “When fish and fisherman are bettered by reason of their partnership, then you have conservation, when one or the other grows poorer, then you do not.”
You can learn more at the RIDEM Marine Fisheries page.