Rob’s guests are Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Craig McDonald and John Williamson – fisherman, New England Fisheries Management Council former member representing fishermen from two states, and now president of Stellwagen Alive.
After nineteen years of Sanctuary management and research, a proposal to close 14% of the area to fishing has been developed. Stellwagen Bank Sanctuary in its entirety has four bottom types, one third gravel, one third sand, one third mud and a bit of boulders. Subarea A, the 89 square miles to be closed (14% of 640 sq mi Sanctuary) also contains a third gravel, sand and mud plus boulders. Subarea B, 106 sq mi to the east, is proposed to be closed to commercial and open to recreational fishing; while subarea C 56 sq mi to the north, closest to Gloucester, would be closed to recreational fishing and open to commercial. Why ecosystem-based research is so important along with population-based research is explained. How the Sanctuary arrived at these specific research areas is a complicated tale of much research that features listening to local users to minimize potential hardships.