Interviewee: Steve Welch

Role: Commercial Fishing Captain

Date of Interview: 2/15/12

Collection: Sector Management in New England

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

Abstract: Steven Welch, 51, is a fisherman out of Scituate and Plymouth, Massachusetts. He worked on boats as a kid and began commercial fishing full time when he graduated from high school in 1979. Since that time he has participated in most fisheries except herring; he now fishes offshore. Mr. Welch has been a member of sector 10 since sector management was initiated and participates as the treasurer. He does not like sectors or catch shares as he catches 62% fewer pounds under his allocation of quota than he did under the previous management by days-at-sea (DAS). Since sectors have begun, Mr. Welch has seen a noticeable decline in quality of life, finances, personal relationships and health.


AW: What kind of changes have you seen?

SW: Well, in Scituate, we probably had 16-18 full time fishermen in 2009. Here in the beginning of 2012, there's two, if you want to call them fulltime fishermen. One of them is getting divorced. You know, big family, great family man. It's the stresses of everything going on. And the other guy that's fishing is… has got a lot of money behind him, which is good for him, but if you don't have a lot of money behind you, under catch shares, then you're done. So I'm just holding on as long as I can until, you know, until whatever happens, happens.

AW: And so, instead of the quota being concentrated by state or region, it's really concentrated by people that have a lot of money, a lot of boats, and are sort of corporate boat owners?

SW: Yeah. A lot of money, a lot of boats. And they'll tell you they invested, they sacrificed… they did this, they did that. You know what? We all did. And I'll tell you right now that the people on the south shore sacrificed the most, because we were a traditional small boat fishery. We didn't have the ability to go offshore and continue fishing on the troubled stocks like they did. So, you know, ironically enough, the people that sacrificed the most, got the least.

To read Steven's full transcript, click here.