Interviewee: Russell Sherman

Role: Commercial Fishing Captain

Date of Interview: 11/6/12

Collection: Sector Management in New England

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

Abstract: Russell Sherman, 64, lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts and has been fishing for over 40 years. He came to Cape Ann during his summer breaks from Harvard University where he was studying History. He got his first boat in 1980 and maintains that active participation in fisheries management is very important. He has attended meetings at the state and federal Council level for years until recently when his stress and frustration with the management process overpowered his decision to attend meetings. His wife, Christine, is a founding member of the Northeast Fisheries Coalition and remains active in that organization. Mr. Sherman is an active member of Sector 2; he has been very negatively impacted by sectors and feels the allocation process was unfair and slighted the small boat fleets in New England and particularly in Gloucester. He has lost friendships due to sectors and has seen a serious impact on the community in terms of fishing activity by small boats, financial hardships, stress, and health issues. He does not have much hope for the small boat fishing industry in Gloucester and does not have faith in the management system to amend these hardships.


RS: And so, we struggled onward with the boat, we always made it. I worked hard and I've been as diverse as I could, but we've come to the point in the last two years with this new sectors system, that we are not making it. And I mean not making it in a big way, to the point of my accountant questioning me about, "Just how smart are you, Russell, you know, to stay in this deal?" We've…we got a bum allocation because the boat was bought out of New Jersey, and previous to my working it, 2001 through, it was mostly scup, squid, butterfish, down that way. They did do some yellowtail fishing and this and that, but negligible in the current system, and so after forty years of fishing, and then thirty years of our own ownership and, well, about twenty-eight years of our ownership and employment, we're pretty much out of business here.

RS: And you can see it in the industry, you can see the crew problems I've had in the last three years have been unbelievable. I've always had a steady crew. Seven years, nine years, three years, guys stayed with me. I worked hard, I was honest, and so I kept people. Now, it's like a revolving door, and you're getting, you know, people that have no other alternative, really. They have a lot of problems, some of them, many of them. And that's what you get for crew, I mean that's what's happened, there's no, very few…I don't see young people because they don't have a promise to get ahead. And that's what young people need, that's what this country needs, that's what this country was built on.

To read Russell's full transcript, click here.