NEW BEDFORD — The first board meeting of the fledgling advocacy group calling itself the Center for Sustainable Fisheries on Wednesday elected former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank as chairman and retired UMass marine scientist Dr. Brian Rothschild as its president and CEO.
Former Mayor Scott Lang, who has been steering the organization, said that with both of those men retiring, it was the "perfect opportunity" to bring them into a group that wants a "rational plan" for fisheries management.
The group, which hopes to have national reach, has raised $105,000 in three weeks, Lang said. But as it sets out to be a counterweight to environmental groups that have millions of dollars of foundation money at their disposal, fund-raising will be a major issue for the new center.
Fishing interests have clashed often with government regulators in recent years over stock assessments, management plans, and so on.
Frank told the meeting at the Waypoint Event Center that every effort should be made to remind everyone that on one major issue after another, time has proven that National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration regulators have been wrong.
"On equipment, we were right and they were wrong," Frank said. "On the 10-year (stock rebuilding) timeline, we were right and they were wrong. On law enforcement, we were right and they were wrong. On scallops, we were right and they were wrong."