GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Top Stories

April 30, 2013

'Take the 'no' out of NOAA,' rally speakers urge

Fishermen, leaders plea for federal help

BOSTON — At the northeast corner of the Boston Fish Pier, not far from an unloading boat, Massachusetts’ elected leaders from the U.S. Senate and House and lawmakers from the State House came together Monday in an 11th hour rally aimed at convincing the White House or the outgoing acting Secretary of Commerce to overrule the leaders of NOAA and grant a regulatory reprieve to the Northeast groundfishery.

Barring the extraordinary, draconian cuts in landings for the 2013 fishing season will take effect tomorrow — May 1, the start of the new fishing year. Cuts in landings of Gulf of Maine Cod, the lifeblood for the inshore fleet based in Gloucester, would be 77 percent of this year’s allocation. Landings of cod and yellowtail in offshore Georges Bank would be cut by more than 60 percent, paralyzing the fleet from New Bedford.

It was Attorney General Martha Coakley, a leading advocate for the fishing industry along with Gov. Deval Patrick who put it directly to NOAA’s Gloucester-based Northeast regional administrator while addressing the roughly 300 fishermen present as well.

“I hope, Mr. Bullard,” she said, speaking beneath a big canvas tent, “that you can take the ‘no’ out of NOAA.”

John Bullard, who stood in the audience that numbered about 250 people, told the Times moments later he has heard nothing from higher authorities, so “the course hasn’t changed.” NOAA, however, has still not posted on the Federal Register the catch limits for groundfish for the 2013 fishing year.

The rally was organized last week by the Gloucester-based Northeast Seafood Coalition, the region’s largest industry group, with the hope of convincing the White House to overrule NOAA General Counsel Lois Schiffer and Bullard and grant the industry certain reprieves from the dire cuts in landings — reprieves that Schiffer contends are illegal in an unreleased legal memorandum to Bullard.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Top Stories

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
AP Video
Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing