Interviewee: Niles Pearsall

Role: Commercial Fishing Captain

Date of Interview: 11/15/11

Collection: Sector Management in New England

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

Abstract: Niles Pearsall, 44, is a commercial fisherman out of Point Judith, Rhode Island. He began fishing after high school and now fishes for groundfish or squid up to 100 miles south of New England. He is a member of Sector 5. He believes that sectors are a good idea, but that everyone needs more quota. Sector management has led to rifts in the fishing community, largely as a result of the disparity in quota allocation. Mr. Pearsall believes that his quality of life is the same, due in part to his wife's income which has made up for his loss in income. He experiences a great deal of stress and anxiety as a result of regulations in general and smokes cigarettes on the boat as a way to mitigate the stress. Mr. Pearsall believes that the science involved with quota allocation is flawed and that sectors will work and fisheries will survive if quota allocation is increased. As it is, the small business fishermen are driven out and big businesses and corporations are taking over. Overall, Mr. Pearsall would like to see an increase in the allotment given to all fishermen, so that they can survive and support their families, especially in Point Judith.


You know, where they based it on a four year span, and they really should've done better on the history. They should've either went back 8 years or everybody should have gotten the same, you know what I mean? Make it fair, not the four… the four, who picked the four years? I'd like to know who got the privilege to do that, you know? So, I got kind of screwed on my quota. I got like 25,000 pounds of groundfish total quota, compared to some of my friends who have hundreds of thousands of pounds and, you know, it's because my boat fished South of New England. I tried to do what the government said and then we ended up getting screwed for it in the long run anyway. So…

The guys in my sector are great. Chris Brown, he's a great guy. He's done so much for this industry. A lot of people think he's a bad guy because, you know, they've got to blame somebody. But he's put a lot of time in going to meetings and getting things… trying to get things reopened and trying to make this whole sector thing work. It'll work, it's just… and everyone in it, yeah, everyone's great. They're all good people, so.

To read Nile's full transcript, click here.