News Feature

Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, October 25, 2012
Ames appointed to national marine fisheries committee

Ted Ames in 2009

Ted Ames in 2009 at the former Zone C Lobster Hatchery.

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by Jessica Brophy

Effective September 1, local fisherman and fisheries ecology researcher Ted Ames is now a member of the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee, a committee with members from across the country that advises NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service.

The 21-person committee, known as MAFAC, evaluates and recommends “priorities and needed changes in national programs,” according to the NMFS website. Some of the policies the committee speaks to include the Magnuson-Stevens Act (which is the primary law governing fisheries at the national level), the Endangered Species and Marine Mammal Protection acts.

Ames said he is pleased by the three-year appointment, which could be renewed. “I’ll have an opportunity to voice concerns we have about catch-shares and sustainable fisheries,” he said. Ames said he is interested in promoting solutions based on the ecology of fisheries, not on the economics.

Ames said he is also in favor of policies that encourage diversification. “We have a crustacean-based ecology,” said Ames. “It doesn’t bode well, nobody knows how stable this population is. We’ve lost our diversity—we’d always been fishing for herring, shrimp, scallops. Most of us have lost access to those fisheries. There’s a generation of fishermen entering with complete reliance on lobster.”

Ames is “very optimistic and delighted” to be a part of the committee, which he said charts a course for the future of marine fisheries throughout the country.

Robin Alden, executive director of Penobscot East Resource Center, said she too is pleased with the appointment. “It’s going to bring the voice of community-scale fishing to that discussion,” she said.