GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Latest Cape Ann News

April 24, 2012

Brown urges Whole Foods to back off fish policy

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Scott Brown is asking Whole Foods to reconsider a decision to no longer sell seafood that it doesn't consider sustainable.

In a letter to Whole Foods co-CEOs John Mackey and Walter Robb, Brown said Monday he was concerned the decision has more to do with political correctness than sound reasoning.

The Massachusetts Republican questioned what he called "uncertain science," and said the decision will hurt Massachusetts fishermen.

Whole Foods Market announced earlier this month it will stop selling fish caught that is not deemed as "sustainable," or that is caught by what the Texas-based grocery chain says are ecologically damaging methods, including octopus, gray sole, skate, Atlantic halibut and Atlantic cod reeled in by trawlers.

Brown said for the past two years, New England fishermen have been struggling under a strict quota management system that limits fishing, along with limitations on gear types and a new fishery management system that continues to drive more of the quota into the hands of larger boat owners while driving smaller, independent fishermen out of business.

Groundfishermen out of Gloucester and elsewhere in New England are also facing a 22 percent cut in the allowable catch for Gulf of Maine cod, due to controversial 2011 data showing a dramatic drop in the species just three years after NOAA's data showed it as nearly recovered.

"... Many of my constituents and the communities that depend on them are struggling to make ends meet," Brown wrote in his letter to Whole Foods. "Adding to this problem is the uncertainty of the science that determines how many fish can be caught. Nowhere is this more evident than in the recent assessment of Gulf of Maine cod, a New England tradition.

"American fishermen operate under some the strictest management rules in the world," Brown wrote. "They are already limited by uncertain and inexact science by the federal agency in charge of regulating the industry. I am deeply troubled that you apparently made this decision without taking into consideration the impact it would have on the fishermen and their families that I represent, and I urge you to reconsider."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest Cape Ann News

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
Comments Tracker
AP Video Network
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest