The PlanSector


Goal 1

The marine ecosystem will be resilient and will sustain the seafood industry.

Image courtesy of Red's Best

Globally, marine biodiversity and fish stocks face multiple threats. Unsustainable fishing practices pressure some fish stocks. Increased temperature and acidification of ocean waters caused by climate change impede development or compel habitat migration of fish and shellfish. Land use policies that do little to prevent shoreline real estate development compromise sensitive marine ecosystems. Eutrophication and pollution caused by runoff impacts plant and animal species diversity, water quality, and vitality of the aquatic ecology.

show more


  1. 1.1 Encourage sustainable fishing practices that protect fish and shellfish stock and habitat.
    1. Actions:
    2. 1.1.1 Fund existing and new programs that support marine ecosystem protection and restoration, such as NOAA’s wetland protection and carbon sequestration initiative, efforts by Massachusetts towns and their partners on eelgrass and oyster reef restoration projects, and Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership’s restoration projects.
    3. 1.1.2 Improve data collection methods, systems, and technology for ‘fishery dependent’ and ‘fishery independent’ fish stocks. NOAA’s Northeast Federal Fishery Dependent Data Visioning project and the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program are leads in fishery dependent data collection.
    4. 1.1.3 Investigate reallocating state fishing quotas based on projected changes in fish distribution. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) Management and Science Committee and other entities’ research, monitoring, and advocacy efforts toward this action item should be supported.
  2. 1.2 Support shellfish operations and management.
    1. Actions:
    2. 1.2.1 Develop more resources for technical assistance, such as cooperative extension, for the aquaculture industry.
    3. 1.2.2 Provide funding to improve shellfish management and stock assessments.
    4. 1.2.3 Ensure continued and expanded permitting for shellfish habitat projects.
    5. 1.2.4 Develop solutions to address property owners’ disputes regarding adjacent shellfish habitat projects.
    6. 1.2.5 Study the ecological benefits of no-take oyster reserves.
    7. 1.2.6 Pilot the use of oysters, clams and natural system restoration techniques to remove nitrogen and phosphorous from coastal waters. Such interventions can serve as alternatives to sewer systems that function to remove nutrients from wastewater plumes.
    8. 1.2.7 Develop oyster, clam, and mussel beds as a method of enhancing marine ecosystems.
    9. 1.2.8 Fund oyster, clam, mussel, and other shellfish seed hatcheries.