What makes Cape Cod so special? It’s the Cod!
Without our independent commercial fishermen and historic fishing industry, we would live on just another sand bar. Gone would be the firing of diesel engines before the sun cracks the eastern horizon. Gone too, the rugged individuals that make up our fleet. And lost would be the freshest day-boat seafood around. We can’t afford to take our commercial fishing heritage for granted and must seek solutions that provide safe passage through perilous times.
The Cape Cod Fisheries Trust does the hard work to keep fresh filets on our plates and boats in our harbors. I am proud to work side by side with fishermen who are passionate about their jobs and the ocean.
The Cape Cod Fisheries Trust is an economic development initiative that stands for a strong and resilient Cape Cod fishing economy, profitable and diversified local fishing businesses, and sustainable fishing practices that protect fishing resources for future generations.
The Trust leases quota and provides business development services to local fishermen. In 2010, we leased nearly 700,000 quota pounds at below-market rates to Cape Cod fishermen, enabling 112 captains and crew working aboard 36 fishing vessels to catch seafood worth $2.1 million. In 2011, leasing grew to over one million pounds, enabling 124 fishermen on 33 vessels to catch $3.6 million worth of seafood.
We take pride that what we learned in 2010 we used to improve the Trust’s support for local fishermen in 2011. We heard plenty of feedback from fishermen on what worked and what didn’t. We wrestled to define and describe our evolving vision, purpose and goals. We designed an evaluation framework to guide our decision-making and help us understand our impact – grappling with what’s meaningful, what’s measurable and what’s realistic.
Through it all we’ve enjoyed close and productive working relationships with our core collaborators, the Community Development Partnership, the Fixed Gear Sector and Amplifier Strategies. We learned that working with likeminded groups expanded our capacity in important ways and helped us do more with less.
We are taking a leadership role in promoting community quota ownership and management as a best bet for sustainable fisheries and communities. This includes partnering with fishing communities on the East and West Coasts to create technology tools to collectively manage quota and improve business planning for local fishing businesses. And it includes sharing our story as widely and transparently as possible.
The Trust couldn’t do what it does without the contributions of our donors, the Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen’s Association board, our partners and especially the fishermen of Cape Cod. We look forward to continuing this work together in 2012 and beyond.
Executive Director, Cape Cod Fisheries Trust