, Gloucester, MA

May 4, 2013

The Mayor's Desk: Pressing forward for our fishermen

The Mayor's Desk
Carolyn Kirk

---- — There was an incredible lineup of political leaders from across Massachusetts at the fishing rally held this past Monday in Boston. U.S. Sens. Warren and Cowan spoke, as did U.S. Congressmen Tierney and Keating. Gov. Patrick’s office was represented, and Attorney General Martha Coakley was there in support. Our state delegation comprised of Sen. Tarr and Rep. Ferrante were there, as were City Councilors Romeo Theken and McGeary. The mayors of the port cities of New Bedford and Gloucester were also there.

What follows is the full text of my remarks on behalf of the city of Gloucester.

“The 400-year old history of groundfishing out of the port of Gloucester – America’s oldest fishing community – has been a triumph of innovation and hard work. This will never change.

“From fighting to keep foreign factory trawlers out of U.S. waters to championing the Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary to fending off oil drilling on George’s Bank to promoting new laws to prevent ocean dumping, Gloucester has always been a leader in protecting the fisheries resource and providing the freshest source of healthy seafood.

“The port of Gloucester will continue to lead the way forward – as we always have. For over 400 years we have adapted and innovated, and shown our resilience in the face of dire challenges. Today is no different.

“In the coming days, we will put forward a set of proposals meant to help secure the future of the commercial fishery that is vital to our nation and we will ask other ports to join us. We will call for reforms in the way the research is done. We will bring forward innovative ideas for a diversified fishery that reflects the change from a high volume economic model to a high quality value added model. We will continue to support the Northeast Seafood Coalition and their calls for national policy that makes sense.

“But most importantly, we will call for transition assistance for our fishermen, their crews, and the shoreside businesses most impacted by the looming cuts.

“We will not accept the loss of the port of Gloucester as a commercial fishing hub. We are going to define our future like we always have – through innovation, adaptation, and resilience. And we will fish out of the port of Gloucester for the next 400 years. Thank you.”

We are working on the proposals now, and our first stop will be to Northeast administrator John Bullard’s office at NOAA to garner support for the proposals. From there, a Gloucester delegation led by myself and Sen. Tarr will head down to Washington, D.C., in a few weeks.

Gloucester is innovative, has adapted, and demonstrated great resilience in the past and will continue to do so.

Carolyn Kirk is mayor of the city of Gloucester.