, Gloucester, MA

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Letters/My View

August 23, 2013

Letter: The DPA, Cape Pond Ice and NOAA

To the editor:

I could never be a bureaucrat.

I would spend the days tormenting myself thinking of all the damage that my decisions might inflict upon people. I would never be able to sleep at night.

Let us take, for example, the policy makers in charge of the state’s Designated Port Area program.

If I were one such policy maker, I would know for sure the damage my decision would bring upon Scott Memhard and the Cape Pond Ice Company. Because of the decisions of other bureaucrats at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, fishermen can no longer go to fish as they once did. And the destruction of those jobs at sea is creating havoc on land.

The Cape Pond Ice Company is one victim. For more than a century, the mainstay of the Cape Pond Ice Company was to sell ice to the fishing boats. Fish caught would thus be kept fresh, cool, and healthy.

No more. Since the fishermen are not allowed to fish, the Cape Pond Ice Company has seen this share of its business fall from nearly 100 percent to about 15 percent of total sales.

The gradual destruction of this business by one bureaucratic slight of hand after another is not simply the tale of a “profit”-making business going to pot. The possible demise of the Cape Pond Ice Company, a company that has been in business for 165 years, since 1848, represents the demise of a chunk of our history and our culture in Gloucester.

To realize the size of the ongoing loss, you only need to visit that establishment, their website, our library, or our Cape Ann Museum, whose Fisheries and Maritime collection “contains many objects relating to Gloucester’s role in the history of fishing, maritime trade and ship building. Visitors are invited to explore the real-life artifacts of over 300 years of industry, imagination and romance related to the sea.”

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