Twenty-five years ago, there were over 2,000 commercial shrimp boats in Mississippi. Today, that number has fallen to around 200. This trend is not unique to Mississippi: Across U.S. coastlines, commercial fisherfolk are seeing their way of life disappear.
On this episode of Building Local Power, Tim Barrett, a local fisherman in Marshfield, Massachusetts, and Ryan Bradley, of the Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United, guide us through how catch share policies — a set of regulations promoted as beneficial for the environment and for fisheries — have turned the sea into a tradeable and buyable commodity, opening the doors for investment, private equity, and corporations to hoard the right to harvest fish. The ensuing consolidation of the industry is driving up prices for both small-scale fisherfolk and the consumer, and putting countless fisherfolk out of work.
Tim and Ryan explain how we need to reform the nation’s catch policy to build a more equitable and thriving fishing sector where small-scale fisherfolk aren’t the ones being hooked.
Listen to the episode on your favorite podcast platform.