Facing a potential fishermen's boycott organized by Mayor Carolyn Kirk, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration today canceled a law enforcement forum scheduled for next Monday that was to have featured the same Gloucester-based federal police agent and attorney whose tactics against the industry sparked protest and a federal investigation that toppled NOAA's national police chief.
NOAA issued an e-mail in mid-afternoon indicating that the event, part of a broad effort to win over the alienated fishing industry, had been canceled "after consultation" with the mayor.
Last Friday, on learning of the plans, Kirk suggested the community might "boycott" the event unless Andrew Cohen, the agent in charge of the northeast region, and Charles Juliand, head of the regional office of general counsel, were deleted from the program.
Kirk, along with state Sen. Bruce Tarr and Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante, had derided the announcement of the forum as an insult the community because of the roles Cohen and Juliand played in assembling cases against the industry in the northeast that drew penalties far greater than those meted out in the rest of the country.
The NOAA announcement released today said: "After consulting with ... Kirk, NOAA is postponing its Fisheries Enforcement Forum, originally scheduled for April 26, to a date and format to be worked out with her. We expect that the forum will take place in the next 60 to 90 days.
"This postponement does not affect NOAA's Enforcement Summit, scheduled for the Washington, D.C., area on June 22.
For more on this story, look to tomorrow's print and online editions of the Gloucester Daily Times and gloucestertimes.com.
Richard Gaines can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3464, or email@example.com.