Interviewee: Deb Shrader

Role: Advocate and Wife of Commercial Fisherman

Date of Interview: 9/26/04

Collection: Working Waterfront Festival Community Documentation Project

Click on the link below to play the audio clip from the interviewee.

Abstract: An industry advocate talks about how she sees her role in the industry and the regulatory challenges facing fishermen.

Transcript: "I wanted to create a voice for the fishermen themselves, since permit holders basically are the ones who are recognized by the Council, and by NMFS. And the fishermen were virtually uninformed and left out of the process so I considered that to be my job going to the docks, talking to the guys, finding out what they knew, giving them information about what they didn't know, finding out how they felt about what was going on, and takin' that message back to the Council. So sort of just being a conduit between the docks and bureaucracy.

Since 1976, when the original Magnuson Act was written, there was something called National Standard 8. The national standards are bulleted items sort of that preface the act itself and Standard 8 stated that the regulations that are put into place should not devastate fishing dependent communities. So I read that and I latched right on to it, and I started studying the Act because to me, it's like they were counting every single fish and every single scallop, but I saw people out of work all over the place and families suffering.

And what's happening is our regulatory process is crippling what these guys can and want to do, from their hearts, to the point where we're all going to be eating fish next year or the year after, actually groundfish, we'll be eatin' fish next year, but it won't be our fishermen's fish, it will be imported from Canada, Mexico, Brazil, all places that are much less regulated than we are, so they're not sustaining any biomass anywhere, and they also are not held to the same restrictions in food inspection as we are here in this country. So yes, we will be eatin' fish, but it won't be our guys'. So everybody that talks about jobs, jobs, jobs, well just like Dell Computers, fieldin' them all out of this country. This regulatory process is forcing a market where they can't depend on our guys to land what they need to sell, so they import it from other countries, and our guys are losing their jobs.

We're just gonna keep goin'. Because my husband and other fishermen in the city – this is our heritage and there's nothing else in New Bedford. It's the cornerstone of our economy. We're not worn down nearly. We've just begun fighting."

To read Deb's full transcript, click here.