Commercial fishing has been a part of the Vineyard’s culture for many generations. As regulations have changed and increased, it has become unaffordable for local fishermen to maintain access to historic Vineyard fishing grounds. Federal and state fisheries regulations have emphasized “limited entry” and “quota management” as policies, choking the small boat, owner operated fishing operations in New England. While fishing opportunities are still viable and sustainable, access to these resources is cost prohibitive. It is now not feasible for a young fisherman to enter a fishery without “buying” a permit or “leasing quota,” or for the average fisherman to diversify or expand their businesses. The Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Preservation Trust (MVFPT) plans to assist in making commercial fishing access available to young people on Martha’s Vineyard and to help current fishermen maintain their livelihood within the Island’s fishing industry. It is our hope that the operation of a permit bank will strengthen the Island’s fishing community, allowing it to be healthy and active for years to come.
The MVFPT was created in 2013 as an outgrowth of activities created by the Martha’s Vineyard / Dukes County Fishermen’s Association. The MVFPT has an active, five-member board of directors that has been meeting twice a month since May 2014 to develop a mission statement, operating procedures, and a financial plan. We have 501(c)(3) status with the IRS.
The Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Preservation Trust will preserve and promote awareness of Martha’s Vineyard’s fisheries, heritage, and the fabric of Martha’s Vineyard’s commercial fishing community.
We seek to sustain and expand fishing access for Martha’s Vineyard’s commercial fishing industry. We aim to safeguard the continuation of commercial fishing on the Island by providing assistance to local fishermen through the lease of fishing quota and permits. Our intent is to ensure a lasting and viable commercial fishing fleet on Martha’s Vineyard.
- Preserve and expand fishing access for Martha’s Vineyard fishermen by assisting in the acquisition of state and federal fishing permits/quota
- Provide living wage jobs for commercial fishermen working out of local harbors on Martha’s Vineyard
- Promote scientific research in local fisheries industries to ensure stocks are sustainably managed
- Ensure a regular source of fresh, locally caught seafood to be sold and eaten on Martha’s Vineyard
- Sustain Martha’s Vineyard’s “working waterfront”