Sen. John Kerry's office today announced plans for an Oct. 3 Boston field hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee into the social and economic impacts of government fisheries policies.
The hearing will feature testimony by NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco, as well as members of the fishing industry and government officials — including Mayors Carolyn Kirk of Gloucester and Scott Lang of New Bedford.
The two mayors and other officials and industry leaders have formed a legal bond in seeking to overturn portions of Amendment 16, which has radically re engineered the management system, brought in Lubchenco's controversial catch shares format, and is bringing about a new and rapid consolidation of the fleet.
Lubchenco's unavailability to the Senate Commerce Committee during the spring and summer led to more than one aborted scheduling of the hearing ,which Kerry promised to hold last winter after the administration declined to give legal credence to a report by the Massachusetts Fisheries Commission on the hardships created by Amendment 16. While the hearing will be in Boston, Kerry's office has not yet announced a specific location.
Kerry's office said that Sen. Scott Brown and the state's congressional delegation would also be invited to appear at the hearing. Brown had coordinated a late May hearing by another Senate committee into fisheries policies held at Faneuil Hall.
"The senator's hearing will attempt to uncover the costs; including the government costs of subsidizing monitoring, both the at sea and on land job costs and the leasing costs associated with the program," Kerry's office said in an email to the Times. "It will seek to identify sectors and communities that have been adversely impacted during the first year of catch share management.
"Where such areas do exist," the statement continued, "the hearing will explore programs, aid and scientific methods that may be employed to ameliorate these impacts."
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Richard Gaines can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3464, or at email@example.com.