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Fishermen Band Together to Save Communities, Heritage from Wind Industry and Regulatory Onslaught

Offshore wind and regulatory onslaught pose major threats to the viability of the American fishing fleet.

May 2, 2023

WASHINGTON D.C. -- Today, a group of New England fishermen launched the New England Fishermen's Stewardship Association (NEFSA), a non-profit, nonpartisan advocacy group, to fight against needless regulation and offshore wind development threatening the viability of the American fishing fleet.

The fishing industry is under attack as new regulations and social catastrophes imposed by woke regulators drive fishermen from their waters in droves. Federal regulators will enforce an 82 percent reduction in haddock landings for commercial fishermen as of May 1, a drastic reduction for a staple seafood product. Moreover, Regulators force American fishermen to use nets with a lower yield than their Canadian competitors. As a result, Canadian boats can land more fish, then come to the U.S. to compete in our market.

Nearly 10 million acres have been designated for siting and development in Georges Bank and the Gulf of Maine alone, a massive swath of ocean encompassing highly productive fishing grounds. Fishermen will either venture farther off the coast into more treacherous waters or stick to inland bays and tidal estuaries. Those near-coast waters are nursery habitats for fish species environmentalists purport to care about.

“I’m pleased that men and women from across the fleet – offshoremen, lobstermen, and scientists – have joined our board of directors to work collaboratively for the first time. No matter our trade, we must band together to fight these common threats on our industry. I encourage all people of goodwill—Democrats and Republicans, trawlers and hook boats, workers, and environmentalists—to join with NEFSA to protect our jobs, the onshore workers who depend on us, and the maritime heritage we fishermen have proudly stewarded since the founding of America,” said Jerry Leeman, the group’s Executive Director.

NEFSA is the first umbrella organization for New England fishermen. While workers have formed blocs in the past based on the species they pursue or the techniques they use, New England’s fishermen have never banded together to advance their common goals. The NEFSA launch is especially urgent because fishermen have no organized lobby or political presence. They are at the mercy of hostile regulators and lawmakers purporting to represent them.

Leeman is a commercial fishing captain with decades of on-the-water experience. NEFSA’s board features a cross-section of stakeholders, including scientists, businessmen, and fishermen of various kinds. The board is nonpartisan, featuring committed Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.


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