GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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April 24, 2013

Letter: Fishermen deserve the chance to earn a living

To the editor:

I’m writing because I’m tired of the misinformation I hear and read in coffee shops, on websites and in newspapers.

Even our local newspaper had an online ad from the PEW Foundation saying we destroy the ocean floor.

Most but not all that is false. The vast majority of the ocean bottom we fish is sand and mud and while it is true that our nets disturb this bottom, it is also true that currents erase our footprint.

Have you ever walked in sand on a windy day, turn around to see that your footprints have been swept away? Currents do that. The same currents that erase the footprint of fisherman on the ocean bottom.

It is true that there are people in our industry that cheat and don’t obey the rules. Every industry has them —doctors, lawyers, financial institutions — but, in our industry as in all the other, the overwhelming majority are good, honest, hardworking people.

Still, we are portrayed in these PR campaigns as uncaring, money hungry, environment rapists. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We see groundfish (cod, haddock, pollock, etc.) on our fish scopes and we tow our nets through them. That’s what we do for a living — catch fish. But there are times that what we see are small, under sized fish. We don’t catch them due to the size of the opening in our nets (6 ½ inches, a regulation that is good), and these fish escape unharmed an we go away this is our future we don’t want to harm it. Would you yours?

We have a regional council that regulates what we can and cannot do. Most of the regulations that have been put in place have been good, but now, when you go to meetings, fisherman are outnumbered by special interest groups with their own hidden agendas, most under the guise of environmentalism.

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