Massachusetts is a national leader in seafood production and distribution. Clean waters, sustainable harvesting practices, and conservation efforts support a diversity of fish and shellfish species in thriving. Sea scallop, lobster, clams, flounders, cod, haddock, goosefish, oyster, herring, and mackerel are some of the diverse species landed. There are considerable prospects for increasing seafood distribution within the State and other markets are growing as well, evident in particular in the aquaculture industry, which has doubled in recent years. Along with the strengths and prospects of the State’s seafood industry, there are also significant challenges. International trade challenges the viability of local fishing operations, especially smaller operations. Climate change and unsustainable fishing operations compromise the health and diversity of marine ecosystems and fish stocks.
The goals, recommendations, and actions for fishing aim to ensure that fishing communities can remain strong, that industry jobs throughout the supply chain support families, and that new markets can enable distribution of more local and diverse seafood throughout the State and New England. The goals recognize the importance of marine biodiversity and ecosystem health as central to sustained prosperity of the industry, and offer recommendations for sustainable practices and operations. All of the recommendations seek to ensure that nutritious, healthy, locally landed seafood is eaten by more residents, regardless of income. Goals represent opportunities for marine fisheries and shellfisheries, but they do not explicitly address land-based aquaculture. While several goals may be relevant to land-based aquaculture, further discussions are needed to identify the issues and opportunities of this part of the fishing industry.