GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Opinion

April 6, 2013

The Mayor's Desk: The view from the outside

One of the cool aspects of my job is hearing from different people “from away” who want to learn about Gloucester.

Last month, representatives of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Holyrood Oceans Initiative reached out to me with a request for a meeting with ocean innovators in Gloucester.

That’s how Tom Daniel, the city’s new community development director, came to recently host five representatives from Newfoundland for a day of fact-finding and maritime site visits.

Over the course of several hours, the delegation met with officials from Ocean Alliance, learned about the biological and ecological research work at the UMass Large Pelagics Center, and gained insight into Maritime Gloucester’s successful education partnership with city schools.

During lunch, we had a round-table discussion with the Newfoundland contingent along with academic and maritime experts from various local and regional organizations such as National Marine Fisheries Service, Endicott College, Salem State, and the Division of Marine Fisheries. We were pleased to have City Councilor Paul McGeary join us as well. The visiting delegation included a city councilor from Holyrood and it was interesting also to talk about various forms of local government.

Meeting with groups from outside the city means more than exchanging pleasantries or exhibiting civic pride. It is important to learn first-hand from other communities that share the same challenges and aspirations as Gloucester. The opportunity to lay groundwork for future collaboration is also invaluable.

Most Gloucester residents probably have never heard of Holyrood, a small community of 2,000 residents nestled near a deep-water harbor on the eastern most edge of North America. Holyrood shares more in common with Gloucester than meets the eye.

Both communities rely on natural resources and trace their roots back to the historic fishing industry. And like Gloucester, Holyrood faced a cod fisheries crisis when the Canadian government closed the entire Atlantic cod fishery in 1992.

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