There is a story about the ongoing plight of Gloucester’s and New England’s fishermen across the top of the front page of today’s Times.
Sadly, the byline notes that it is a piece drawn from the combined resources of wire services — primarily the State House News Service – and Times staff, which includes localized background information reported last week.
We use the terms “sadly” not to reflect in any way on the quality of the story, which outlines the growing impact of the dire new NOAA catch limits on Gloucester’s fishermen and the city itself. And it includes a number of new tidbits of information, including the ties of one of the key scientists involved in the assessment study that is understandably facing a wide variety of credibility questions.
Yet it is indeed sad that the story could not have once again been pursued, researched and crafted by Richard Gaines, the 40-year veteran journalist who was found dead Sunday in his swimming pool outside his and his wife Nancy’s home in Bay View. And it is even sadder to think that Gaines, who worked for the Times for the last 11 years, chronicling a wide variety of city and state political sagas and especially, since 2008, the immense and complex issues facing Gloucester’s, New England’s and America’s commercial fishermen, will never strike a letter on his computer keyboard again.
As many have noted, Gaines was indeed a champion for the underdog, and his legacy can only inspire each and all of us to never be afraid to challenge, and never give up in our never-ending quest for truth and justice.
It is in that spirit, then, that we extend our own condolences to his wife Nancy and their extended family. And we must recognize that his loss is our loss – as a newspaper, and also as a community.
Yet we also commit to making certain that his passion for righting wrongs, for giving voice to those who have none, and for always going the extra mile to get to the truth, is never silenced, never lost, never forgotten.
May he forever rest in peace — and may none of us forget the lessons he’s left for us all.