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October 27, 2012

Brown: Fishing a priority

Industry important for its jobs, incumbent says

In New Bedford, a fisherman put a paycheck down on the table in front of U.S. Sen. Scott Brown.

Landing his $100,000 catch had cost him $33,000 for fuel, $20,000 for insurance, and at the end of it, the man, captain of the vessel, told Brown he walked away with $800.

“He said ‘I’m not going out, this is a joke,’” Brown said.

Brown runs for re-election this year, after winning a special election for the late Sen. Edward “Ted” Kennedy’s seat in early 2010. He said he’s focused on veterans issues and the economy.

But the fishing industry, he said, is his top economic and policy priority.

“For Gloucester, Fall River, New Bedford and (communities) in surrounding New England states this is the No. 1 issue when it comes to jobs,” he said.

He said yesterday that if re-elected to his seat in the U.S. Senate he will re-file his Fishery Impact Statement Honesty or FISH Act. He filed the act, which would amend the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act by requiring an annual socio-economic update of the impact of the nation’s fishery policy. The act currently sits in the Senate Commerce Committee.

Brown made a campaign visit to Gloucester yesterday, and toured downtown businesses from Virgilio’s to BankGloucester and everything in between. His trip included a stop at the Gloucester Daily Times.

The FISH Act would require the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, NOAA, to provide a yearly socioeconomic study of its various fisheries management plans every year

The fisheries management plan most important for Gloucester and Massachusetts governs the groundfish of the inshore Gulf of Maine and offshore Georges Bank. After more than three years of the current management system, NOAA earlier this month declared the groundfishery to be in “economic failure,” but no relief was announced with the finding.

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