2013 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Erica Boyce

Erica Boyce

Name of Host Organization: Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Alliance
City, State: Chatham, Massachusetts
Issue area: Community Economic Development/Microfinance and Related Transactional Legal Projects
Sponsors: ALM

The Project

Erica provided educational outreach and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) training to small-scale, independent commercial fishermen on Cape Cod who are struggling with complex federal regulations favoring larger corporations. She also developed planning tools and a national vision to replicate fishing permit banks across the country.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
New England commercial fisheries are in crisis. In 2012, the Secretary of Commerce declared a commercial fishery failure in the Northeast groundfish fishery because several key fish stocks were not replenishing. To turn things around, fish quotas have been cut by up to 70 percent. The quotas are a cap-and-trade system for fishermen. Critics of quota systems worry that larger fishing corporations will buy up the entire quota, causing the small-scale fisherman to become extinct. In response, the Cape Cod Fisheries Trust, a program of the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance, leases quota at affordable rates to small-scale, independent fishermen, who are essential to the survival of the local fishing community. As an intersection between the nonprofit sector and fiercely independent small businesses, the Trust focuses on improving the lives and experiences of Atlantic scallop fisherme
Fellowship Highlights: 
During her Fellowship, Erica has:
• Developed a suite of training modules to guide fishing communities across the country through the process of setting up and running permit banks
• Organized a major national workshop attended by 64 representatives from 18 separate fishing communities to set a course for a national permit banking program, forming an ambitious replication agenda and vision
• Led a team of local fishermen to secure a major policy victory at the regional level that will help them address their conflicts with large boat fishermen, relying on her conflict resolution and community outreach skills to build a cohesive campaign
Where are they now?: 
Now that the Fellowship is complete, Erica will join Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Alliance and continue to work in the permit banking arena, joining a leadership team to develop a 2-3 year approach to replication across the country, including fundraising for and building a new partnership entity.

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