Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray is bringing the Seaport Advisory Council to Gloucester today, with grants of nearly $6 million on the agenda for formal vote and distribution for port projects.
And those grant include an additional $700,000 more for the Harborwalk project being advanced by Mayor Carolyn Kirk.
If approved, and agenda votes by the council typically are pro forma, the city will have received $1.2 million for the Harborwalk, now under design by Cambridge Seven Associates to unify the harbor from Commercial Street to Harbor Loop.
The grant would more than double the budget for the project after the initial Seaport Advisory grant of $500,000 last October.
With the additional grant, Kirk said in a telephone interview, "We can expand the project.
"It will allow us to do some extras that weren't going to be done — better lighting for one thing — and we hope expand the route to Cruiseport," she said.
The public meeting of the Seaport Advisory Council is scheduled to run for two hours, beginning at 1 p.m. at Cruiseport Gloucester.
The largest grant up for formal approval is one for $1.98 million for Newburyport for its Central Waterfront Bulkhead Project. Also proposed is $1.39 million for Beverly's Commercial Marina and Ferry Way Landing.
Other proposed grants include $800,000 for Boston's Chelsea Street Bridge, $632,654 for Salem's Blaney Street Wharf, and $200,000 for New Bedford, for Sawyer Street floats and $200,000 for harbor coordinators in Gloucester, New Bedford, Salem and Fall River, and $$24,000 for Nantucket to remove a fishing vessel.
Richie Canastra of New Bedford, the South Coast representative on the Seaport Advisory Council, is scheduled to brief the meeting on fisheries issues.
Kirk, who was returning Wednesday from a meeting of Mayor Scott Lang's Ocean and Fisheries Council in the Capitol on Tuesday, said she has come to believe in the need to broaden the fishing coalition to other ports facing economic hardship.
Canastra, who operates the Whaling City Seafood Display Auction in New Bedford and an adjunct to it in Gloucester, has been instrumental in forging an alliance between Gloucester and New Bedford, the twin capitals of the New England fishing industry.
Canastra was also in Washington for the two-hour meeting Tuesday afternoon in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing room, with Kirk, Lang, U.S. Sen. John Kerry and Congressmen John Tierney and Barney Frank.
The theme of the meeting was the need for the federal government to improve its fisheries science and adjust its interpretation of the Magnuson-Steven Act to balance economic and social needs with conservation imperatives.
Lang will also be in Gloucester today. He and Kirk have made their cities co-lead plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit challenging the legality of Amendment 16, the radical reorganization of the groundfishing industry based on allocated shares of an assigned catch granted to fishermen who work in fishing cooperatives, or sectors.
Ultra low allocations based on a disputed interpretation of the Magnuson-Stevens Act have complicated transition and — according to a report produced for Gov. Deval Patrick and rejected by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke — the new system has steered most of the allocation into the hands of the largest and best capitalized boats and businesses while dispossessing smaller boats and damaging the port economies.
The Seaport Advisory Council consists of 15 members including cabinet secretaries, agency heads, mayors from seaport communities, and regional and waterway user representatives.
In the Patrick-Murray administration, the council has allocated more than $35 million to Massachusetts projects designed to enhance and develop the commercial aspects of the state's ports and harbors.
Funding for projects approved by the Seaport Advisory Council is supported by the Energy and Environmental Bond Bill, approved by the Legislature and authorized by Gov. Patrick in 2008.
Richard Gaines can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3464, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.