From local veterans to food banks state-wide, haddock chowder is a hit
Emily Yerby works for The Greater Boston Food Bank and came home from an “insanely” hard day at work too exhausted to cook dinner. So she threw some haddock chowder on the stove, the same chowder that has been offered at pantries across the state.
“It was perfect,” she said. “This for me has been a silver lining during all this chaos.”
The Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance new haddock chowder first arrived in mid-August and proved popular right away.
“The soup is flying out of the food pantries,” Yerby said.
With a higher than average amount of haddock per serving, the chowder was launched with two key goals; keep fishermen on the water and help feed the hungry.
And the number of people to be served is growing. Yerby ran through the numbers:
The October Gale of 1841 was the worst single killer of fishermen in Cape Cod history
Make a list of 57 people you have known since childhood, from your hometown.
Make them all men, mostly young men, some teenagers.
Think about what they mean to you, the experiences you’ve shared.
Then try to imagine all of them dead, lost without warning, never to be seen again.
So it was for Truro on October 3, 1841. Fifty-seven fishermen from the town, in seven boats, vanished around George’s Banks. According to accounts of the time, they left behind 23 widows and 51 fatherless children.
The more things change the more they stay the same, and the Chatham Pier Fish Market shows the truth in that.
Take a picture tour of the Chatham Fish Pier Market, which although updated has been an important presence at the pier for more than 50 years. Meet Steve Gennodie, the new owner, who has some improvements in the works, but was drawn to the site for its history.
The old line about legislation and sausage being similar – you don’t really want to look too hard at how either of them is made – comes to mind for fishing regulations too. It can be quite a process.
Right now we are in the thick of an effort to improve what’s known as “the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan.” Amendment 23 to the plan is on the table, put there after years of discussion (cantankerous and otherwise) backed by data and research.
A key piece of this amendment would require more and better monitoring of what fishermen catch as they work. This has been a controversial proposal; some think it’s crucial to create accountability and better management, others think fishermen should not be subject to more oversight from human monitors or cameras recording their catch.
Whenever major proposals like Amendment 23 are introduced, there is a mandatory period for public comment. That can come forward in testimony at hearings (virtually these days), or written statements. Fishermen often do both, as does the Alliance as an organization.
So I thought it might be interesting to share our written comments. This version is edited down, mainly to take out the most technical language and topics; I realize there’s still some heavy going in it. But hopefully it offers insights into the big issue itself, how I’m thinking about it, why we are taking the positions we are, and how the federal process allows for public input.
A letter like this is sent to Tom Nies, the executive director of the New England Fishery Management Council. He and staff then build a big packet of materials that include such comments, delivered to every sitting member of the Council.
Here we go:
Dear Mr. Nies,
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Amendment 23 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP)…
For over a decade, the issue of unreported discards at sea and area misreporting has become an important source of uncertainty in Northeast Multispecies management. In addition, the NEFSC trawl survey struggles to complete its annual surveys in a consistent manner, a problem that will likely continue into the future due to the coronavirus pandemic and the planned development of large, offshore windfarms. Uncertainty over accurate and precise catch information and an inconsistent survey have combined to make management of the Northeast Multispecies complex frustrating. In addition, dockside monitoring and enforcement have been severely reduced or eliminated. These combined conditions have exacerbated an already contentious and challenging situation.
Consideration of increasing monitoring levels has met fierce resistance from the industry. Primarily, the arguments have centered upon the cost to the vessel. These are real and legitimate concerns. Indeed, the AM23 DEIS details these costs in a battery of analyses. The costs estimated therein are cause for concern should they be placed on individual vessels. Fortunately, there is financial support to offset the transition and startup costs associated with AM23.
Today, the NEFMC has an opportunity to take advantage of three years of generous federal appropriations (~$30m) to recommend much needed adjustments to the Northeast Multispecies FMP. Monitoring required by AM23 can put an end to the long running debate over to what degree discards occur in the fishery and to the extent they do occur, how widespread the practice is, and whether it is at a scale that could impact the assessments…
The NEFMC should take advantage of the funding available to maximize monitoring coverage for a period of three years. At the end of that time, a valuable baseline will exist from which to consider adjustments in monitoring coverage…
Commercial Groundfish Monitoring Program Revisions (Sectors Only)
We support the Council’s selection of a standard ASM coverage level of 100% to include additional sector monitoring tools beyond human at-sea monitors, including the use of electronic monitoring programs (audit and maximized retention models). We acknowledge that the EM programs are being developed cooperatively between NOAA and the fishing industry and encourage NOAA to refine the programs to address fishermen’s concerns prior to implementation... We also support increasing the overall coverage levels in the groundfish fishery. Current and previous levels of monitoring have not been sufficient to account for all catch from the fishery. The lack of accounting leaves gaping holes in the data used to inform fishery assessments, causing the assessments to perform poorly… The cycle of using flawed data to produce flawed assessments has led to a long-term failure of the fishery to reach its full potential…
Full accountability will produce better results for the fishery itself and for honest participants in the industry…
Commercial Groundfish Monitoring Program Revisions (Sectors and Common Pool)
The Council selected no action as its preferred alternative. No action would maintain the status quo of no mandatory dockside monitoring program for sectors and the common pool.
We support the Council’s selection of no action. Dockside monitoring is only one component of the greater suite of alternatives that the council should approve… We believe that dockside monitoring should not be mandated, but should still be an accessible tool to use to complement other monitoring methods…
Funding/Operational Provisions of Groundfish Monitoring (Sectors and Common Pool)
This alternative allows waivers for exempting vessels from industry-funded monitoring requirements for sectors and common pool under certain conditions.
We support this alternative. A key component to ensuring the success of new monitoring revisions is to allow flexibility in some areas. This would allow fishing effort to be unobstructed by potential NMFS funding insufficiencies, while still allowing the NMFS and sectors to strive toward a common goal of additional monitoring in the fishery…
A transition from the 40% coverage level in FY2020 to 100% in FY2022 seems reasonable, as some transition time will be necessary to enable infrastructure and training, and for service providers to ramp up to full coverage at a fleet-wide scale.
In 2018, 2019, and 2020 Congress appropriated $10.3m annually for monitoring. While there is no way to know what a future Congress will do with respect to this program, it is appropriate to assume a significant portion of that $30.9m is available to offset costs (analyzed as the subsidy model in AM23 DEIS). Analysis suggests the appropriated dollars could support two to three years of AM23 ASM at 100% coverage of the current fleet.
Development of a strong and certain catch information baseline will enable a future Council to make tactical, data-based adjustments to the monitoring program of the NE Multispecies Plan in a future action. Access to closed areas, reporting requirements, management uncertainty buffers and other management measures will benefit from accurate and precise catch information. We would expect the stock assessment process to improve as well. We believe that the Council should increase monitoring levels to more effectively manage the groundfish fishery through better data inputs, and provide for the use of alternative monitoring tools like electronic monitoring. We encourage the council and the agency to implement these changes as efficiently as possible.
We have partnered with two great businesses that make giving back to the coastal communities of Cape Cod a priority.
Our friends at Quahog Republic have the motto “Live.Give.Relax.” and this year’s special golden ale brewed at Mayflower Brewing Company has our iconic fish logo on it. They are donating a portion of the sales to the Fisherman's Alliance while supplies last. The ale is available as single cans or a four-pack from each restaurant location and is also available at local retailers. Visit one of their establishments soon and try it for yourself.
Seaborne Watch Company out of Duxbury, Ma. is an independent brand that focuses on nautical style, rugged performance and craftmanship. This year, the Fishermen’s Alliance was chosen to be their feature partner for their coastal non-profit organization program – receiving 5 percent of their profit from watch sales. Check out their website to view the watches and read more about the social mission.
We lost a dear friend this month, local artist Elizabeth Mumford. She is well known for her whimsical paintings of seaside life and her generous spirit. For the last 17 years, she had donated a unique piece of art for the Hookers Ball live auction and each year, bidders would battle it out to take home the prize. Fishermen’s Alliance CEO John Pappalardo said, “Elizabeth Mumford was a beautiful and compassionate soul who cherished all things Cape Cod. A talented artist, Liz donated her time, talent and art to many of Cape Cod's non-profits for decades. Coming from a family of farmers in the Midwest, Liz understood the plight of those who choose to work the land and the sea. Her belief in our mission and our way of life was crucial. The Fishermen’s Alliance and Cape Cod has lost one of its biggest champions and friends in Liz Mumford.”
We have been talking with market owners and others about launching our haddock chowder in the retail market. We want to give our local readers the inside scoop and offer you the chance to win a case of the chowder. Click here to make a donation (minimum $25) by October 30 and be entered into a drawing. Winner will be notified October 31.
On the Water
Ever wonder how a boat, or a fish, got its name? Want the word on what people are catching --- or how to cook it?
Our second batch of haddock chowder rolled out to food banks across the state this week. Check out this video of the care fresh fish receives at Great Eastern Seafood. And read this comprehensive article in Civil Eats about how our chowder fits into efforts across the nation to get more seafood to those who need it here.
On the Shore
This community thrives in large part because of a constellation of non-profit organizations and engaged businesses.
Speaking of online events, the sixth annual farm and sea-to-table event is happening Saturday, Oct. 3 from 6 to 8 p.m., presented by Nauset Regional High School Culinary Arts Program to benefit their Eat Local/Eat Clean Food Initiatives, Garden Development & Culinary Travel Scholarships. Local farmers, fishermen, restaurants, students, parents and teachers come together. Find out about raffles, auction items and ticketshere.
One bright spot during this pandemic is the continuing support from people who hear about our mission and reach out to help. Cottage in Orleans is a perfect example. Owner Aline Lindemann auctioned off 12 beautiful pieces of cod art from 12 artists: Kimberley Deane, Julia Felsenthal, Celeste Hanlon, Chris Kelly, Aline Lindemann, Irene Lynch, Keith Maclelland, Mari Porcari, Kathleen O’Brien, Tjasa Owen, Sophie Rae and Monica Rozak. Thepieces are beautiful and we encourage you to check out the beautiful store as well.
On the Hook
We do a lot of reading, searching through the wide world of fisheries, and often find intriguing pieces to share. In the old days, you might call this your clipping service.
We have gotten so many good vibes from our haddock chowder program launch, the future looks bright. If you missed how the initiative got started, check out this piece in the Cape Codder.
Some good news, though it’s unclear how much this will impact the local fleet: the U.S. Department of Agriculture will provide $530 million in relief payments for fishermen taking a hit from retaliatory foreign trade tariffs during 2019, using economic modeling to calculate how much trade wars have cost the industry. Read more in National Fisherman.
Aquariums are working to give everyone access to creatures that inhabit the ocean's 'Twilight Zone.' California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium is among the first and plans to spend $15 million over the next two years to create the world’s first large-scale exhibition of deep-sea life, a 10,400-square-foot display named “Into the Deep: Exploring our Undiscovered Ocean.” Read more here in this story from the New York Times.