MARSHFIELD — Steve Welch is selling one of his two fishing boats this year because of new catch limits set to go into effect next month. With one less boat, he's been forced to drop five employees – four of whom have families to support.
Speaking directly to U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday, Welch said one of the South Shore's proudest traditions is doomed to extinction unless the federal government stops bullying small-boat fishermen/
"They want to get rid of the little guys, the people that know how to nurture the resource, the people who do not care about getting rich," Welch, a Scituate fisherman, said. "We just want to provide for our families, and we want to work, and we want to employ people."
Warren, who has asked Congress to provide disaster-relief funds to Northeast fishermen, met with dozens of local fishermen on Tuesday during her visit to Haddad's Ocean Cafe in Marshfield. Chief among the fishermen's concerns are the looming reductions in groundfish catch quotas.
Starting May 1, the New England Fishery Management Council, the regional arm of the National Marine Fisheries Service, will reduce the cod catch in the Gulf of Maine by 77 percent and on Georges Bank by 61 percent.
"This whole fishing industry really is under attack," state Rep. James Cantwell, D-Marshfield, said.
About 40 local fishermen attended the one-hour session with Warren, a Democrat in her first term in the Senate. Fishermen also voiced concerns about the distribution of fish import tariffs they say are being diverted to uses other than the fishing industry, environmental restrictions and bigger boats depleting fish stocks.
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