Because humans should be able to sustainably manage an ecosystem, over the long term.
Rivers are being restored throughout eastern Maine so that sea-run fish can migrate from the ocean to their freshwater spawning grounds. In the coming years, millions of alewives and other forage fish will provide a new food supply for groundfish so their populations can rebound in coastal waters.
New science shows eastern Maine’s ecosystem to be distinct from the larger Gulf of Maine and best managed separately from the region as a whole. Complex ocean currents support distinct groundfish populations – the Gulf of Maine is not “one big kettle of fish.”
Because of the current groundfish crisis in the Gulf of Maine, federal fisheries management agencies are ready to try something new, such as community-based ecosystem management. Downeast Maine is the ideal testing ground for this innovative approach where local fishermen and regulators work together to manage fish resources.
The burgeoning local foods movement presents new opportunities for sustainably harvested seafood. Locally caught fish can once again support eastern Maine communities by gracing tables in homes and restaurants throughout New England.