GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Latest Cape Ann News

February 2, 2011

Bill demands reviews of fish policy

Sen. Brown's proposal would check regulatory impact on communities

U.S. Sen. Scott Brown's legislative proposal targeting changes in the Magnuson-Stevens Act would subject federal fisheries policy actions to systematic, independent economic analysis on an annual basis.

And his bill was applauded across the industry Wednesday as a needed lever to compel bureaucratic compliance with the Magnuson Act, which governs the regulation of America's fisheries,

In Gloucester, the Northeast Seafood Coalition, the region's largest industry group, said the National Marine Fisheries Service's failure to balance community well-being and industry harvest with conservation efforts made it necessary for independent evaluation of the impacts of regulatory actions.

Industry attorney Stephen Ouellette made much the same point, but went further, ascribing to fisheries' officials actions "to weaken the industry in advancing "a political conservationist agenda."

"One has to wonder whether NMFS has been stretching the truth and misleading the industry, the general public and Congress," the Gloucester-based attorney added.

Ouellette proposed a "complete retrospective analysis" of faulty projections of landings by regulators, which he has calculated has cost the New England economy as much as $500 million beyond the social costs in moving working fishermen into the ranks of the unemployed.

"The Commerce Department must be forced to comply with an independent fisheries impact statement, so that officials at NOAA and the Commerce Department cannot ignore the situation or tailor the results of the statement to their own purposes," Brown said in a prepared statement.

The seafood coalition and Ouellette together represent a sizeable fraction of the surviving descendants of the nation's original industry, which here in the 17th century.

Mayor Carolyn Kirk also lauded Brown's proposal as well conceived.

"Frequent and neutral third party reviews," she said, are "exactly what is needed," Kirk said.

"The concept of periodic, independent outside review of NMFS actions is long overdue," Ouellette told the Times in an e-mail response to questions seeking reaction to Brown's proposal. The Massachusetts Republican senator outlined his legislation at the start of the week as part of a larger package focused on economic revitalization and job creation or protection.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest Cape Ann News

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
Comments Tracker
AP Video Network
US Trying to Verify Video of American's Killing FBI Director Addresses Ferguson Shooting in Utah Raw: Police at Scene of St. Louis Shooting Police: 2 Calif. Boys Planned School Shooting NOLA Police Chief Retires Amid Violent Crimes Lunch Bus Delivers Meals to Kids Out of School Water Bottles Recalled for Safety Researcher Testing On-Field Concussion Scanners Rockets Fired From Gaza, in Breach of Ceasefire Raw: Japanese Military Live Fire Exercise Police, Protesters Clash in Ferguson Independent Autopsy Reveals Michael Brown Wounds Nashville Embraces Motley Crue Obama: 'Time to Listen, Not Just Shout' Lawyer: Gov. Perry Indictment a 'Nasty Attack' Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Crosses Into Ukraine Iowa Man Builds Statue of a Golfer Out of Balls Assange Gets Cryptic About Leaving Embassy in UK Raw: Building Collapse in South Africa, 9 Dead Raw: Pope Francis Meets 'Comfort Women'