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December 16, 2012

Gloucester fleet should look to future, not past

To the editor:

What is going to happen to the oldest seaport in the U.S.A.?

When I went to school most of kids in my first-grade class’s family worked in some part of the fishing industry. My family has been fishing in Gloucester since the 1920s and at one time there were more than 100 of my relatives in some part of the fishing industry. Today only three remain.

I remember redfish boats with fish holes filled. An example, F/V Flow taking out 500,000 at Fabets, F/V Judith Lee Rose unloading at Gorton’s with about the same amount of redfish. There were many other large boats redfishing at this time, too. Today, Gloucester has only two or three large boats left, not including pair trawlers. Across the harbor, at Capt. Joe and Sons, only five boats wait to unload their whiting trips, at Cape Ann Seafood and Curcuru Bros., the Producer, North Atlantic, FBI, and StarFish unload groundfish trips.

Then in the afternoon, day boats would start arriving at Fishermen’s Wharf to unload fish to ship to the Fulton Market.

Then in evening, Ida & Joseph and Rockaway would come in loaded with pogies. Today I doubt that Gloucester boats land 200,000 pounds of fish in a week.

In the winter months, Gloucester had 20 to 30 boats that would go shrimping until the spring. Last year the shrimp fleet was six to eight boats. The shrimp season was over in a month. If shrimp goes to a quota system, which the state of Maine wants, the breakdown will be Maine, 80 percent of the catch, New Hampshire, 18 percent, and Massachusetts, 1.8 percent — another hit for Gloucester. Does the state of Maine own all the shrimp in the Gulf of Maine? If A.S.M.C. votes for a shrimp quota, the state of Massachusetts should leave A.S.M.C. to protect our shrimping history.

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