GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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October 6, 2011

Calls growing for NOAA chief's ouster

After what he described as evasion and equivocation by Jane Lubchenco at a U.S. Senate Commerce Committee hearing, New Bedford Mayor Scott Lang is calling on President Obama to replace the NOAA administrator.

In a prepared statement released Wednesday evening, Lang explained that Monday's testimony by Lubchenco crushed the last hopes he had for her to be able to effectively lead on fishery concerns.

Gloucester Mayor Carolyn Kirk, who has made a close alliance with Lang on fisheries issues, took a different tact Thursday.

She videotaped an appeal, posted on YouTube, to the president to fix things, but instead of urging Lubchenco to go, Kirk invited her to come to Gloucester — the nation's first fishing port city — for a followup public meeting with municipal and port interests.

"Rather than calling for Dr. Lubchenco's resignation," Kirk said in an email, "I'd prefer she answer back to the community as a follow-up to the visit she made here in March 2010."

"At that time, she expressed support for our city and fishing industry," Kirk noted. "It might be time to meet again to understand ... the fleet and the jobs it represents."

On the day of Lubchenco's previous meeting here with stakeholders, a U.S. House subcommittee held a hearing at Gloucester's City Hall that helped uncover scandalous excesses in the federal fisheries law enforcement system.

In an opening statement and answers to questions at the State House Monday, Lubchenco, the former vice chairwoman of the Environmental Defense Fund board, did nothing to inspire hope from the fishing industry and its political representatives.

The New England ports have been hemorrhaging jobs along the New England coast while struggling with a catch share management system that is inducing consolidation of resources and quota within a few of the biggest and best capitalized businesses, while forcing smaller players to the sideline.

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