If you’ve ever visited one of our coastal states, you’ve seen us. We operate everything from 34’ lobster boats in South Carolina to 130’ whiting trawlers in the Bering Sea. We run the crab boats you see on The Deadliest Catch and fish for sharks in Florida. We harvest cod, sea bass and haddock in New England; red snapper and grouper in the Gulf of Mexico; crab, rockfish and salmon from the Pacific. We’re hundreds of small businesses that support thousands of families and feed millions more.
We have strong roots in our communities, we’re proud of what we do, and we put in a hard day’s work for an honest day’s earnings. But we also face steadily rising costs, and many of us operate under fishery management programs that are outdated – in some cases, failing. Failing us, and failing to protect and manage America’s natural resources. Our industry is heavily regulated, and there are some good reasons for that. The fish we catch – and the ones we avoid catching – are a public resource; they belong to each and every one of us. So it’s up to state and federal fishery managers to design regulations that enable a reasonable harvest, discourage wasteful bycatch and help ensure that plentiful seafood supplies reach American consumers for generations to come. That’s not an easy job.
As one U.S. senator recently remarked at a hearing on Capitol Hill, “Fisheries management isn’t rocket science, it’s more complicated than that.” And that’s why the Seafood Harvesters exist; to work in a spirit of partnership with policymakers and federal managers as they grapple with complex issues affecting U.S. fisheries.