GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Breaking News

Top Stories

January 23, 2011

Enviro seeks to halt state from backing fish suit

One of the major environmental groups battling the fishing industry has filed a critique — short of a formal objection — to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' request to join the federal lawsuit filed by the cities of Gloucester and New Bedford and industry plaintiffs, all of whom are challenging the catch share regulatory regimen now governing New England's groundfishery.

The Conservation Law Foundation, which previously entered the case, joining the federal government in opposition to the fishing interests — and has opposed a motion for discovery into alleged improper influences from Environmental Defense Fund and other non-government organizations — stopped short of asking U.S. District Court Judge Rya Zobel to bar the commonwealth from joining the suit as a co-plaintiff.

Instead, CLF lawyers Peter Shelley and Greg Cunningham pointed out that the commonwealth had asked to join a suit against the same regulatory document — Amendment 16 as it's called — the state's own representative on the New England Fishery Management Council had voted for in June 2009.

Attorney General Martha Coakley two weeks ago filed a lengthy amicus brief and request for permission to join the suit on behalf of Gov. Deval Patrick.

Similar amicus requests from Reps. Barney Frank and John Tierney and the consumers' group Food & Water Watch are also pending. The lawsuit itself includes both Gloucester and New Bedford as plaintiffs, along with a variety of fishing interests who claim that Amendment 16 and the catch-share system were wrongly put in place.

The final vote on the package — a landmark transition for the groundfishery into what amounts to a limited access commodities market, with outside investors and corporations acquiring fishing "shares" from smaller, independent boat owners — was the product of years of intense debate.

In the final 16-1 tally, David Pierce, the deputy director of marine fisheries for the commonwealth and its voting representative on the council, voted with the majority in approving the Amendment 16 package.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Top Stories

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA