, Gloucester, MA


July 9, 2013

Editorial: Timing everything on cable project

Overall, the plan to install a 55-mile cable beneath the Atlantic Ocean from southern New Hampshire to just north of Revere looms as an important communications development for Cape Ann and much of New England.

And given the scope of the project (see news story, Page 1), it’s certainly understandable that Tetra Tech, the engineering firm carrying out the cable’s installation, and the developer, New Hampshire Transmission, need to schedule the work for the most viable times of the year.

But for all the planning that’s gone into this massive power grid project, it’s disappointing that no one seemed to consider the effect of carrying out a Sonar survey to place the cable in the heart of what should be the peak season for Cape Ann’s and other lobstermen, and the disruption it poses for fixed-gear fishermen as well.

As noted in Friday’s paper, the state’s Division of Marine Fisheries is hosting a public meeting tonight at 6:30 at Gloucester High School to outline the project and supposedly hear lobstermen’s and others’ concerns. But those attending shouldn’t get their hopes up for any change in course; the vessel carrying out the Sonar survey, the 110-foot Sea Lion V, has already arrived in Gloucester and is ready to go.

That’s not quite the way the democratic process should work – though, as we’ve all seen, there’s rarely anything democratic about the handling of fisheries, fishermen and now lobsterman as well.

“They should have come to us months ago and suggested they need to do this,” said Bill Adler, who heads the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association — and he’s right.

Let’s hope the Division of Marine Fisheries recognizes that, and works with the development companies to at least find a more viable schedule for all.

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