GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Opinion

February 11, 2012

The Mayor's Desk: Making city's case amid cod crisis

In 2008, the fishermen could "walk on cod."

Scientific reports showed that codfish were rebounding and plentiful.

Today, a few short years later, the scientific reports are showing the stock as vanishing.

Questions about the science and the fisheries management scheme are being raised. And in the meantime, Gloucester fishermen, and the Gloucester fishing economy, is caught in the cross hairs.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is responding in part by hosting a number of public meetings with stakeholders from the industry. Gloucester is also responding.

Today, I want to share with you portions of the statement that the Gloucester Fisheries Commission has prepared, and that I delivered in full and in person to NOAA officials yesterday in Portsmouth, N.H.:

Gloucester Fisheries Commission statement for Mayor Carolyn Kirk before the NOAA Gulf of Maine Cod Working Group - Feb. 10, 2012.

"The Gloucester Fisheries Commission met last evening in emergency session and expressed grave concern regarding deep cuts in allowable catches of Gulf of Maine cod.

"Gloucester's fishing industry and harbor infrastructure are deeply dependent on landings of codfish, and significant cuts in the allowable catch of codfish would, without a doubt, threaten the very survival of our entire fishing industry and working waterfront.

"The Fisheries Commission has been reactivated after many years to address pressing issues to our local fishermen such as the matter of Gulf of Maine cod management.

"Representing the diversity of Gloucester's fishing industry, the commission took action to send a letter to Secretary of Commerce John Bryson supporting the New England Fishery Management Council's short-term solution to enact an Emergency Rule for fishing year 2012 and allow an interim total allowable catch or TAC of cod at 7,500 metric tons. This will do the least harm to the industry as the process continues to address the scientific issues in question.

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