Six months ago, there was a glow of enthusiasm around the embattled Gloucester waterfront over the news that, while hardly meeting the full demands of the 1954 Saltonstall-Kennedy Act, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would kick in up to $11 million of its seafood tariff revenue to support innovative projects aimed at improving America’s embattled fisheries and dockside economies.
One, submitted by four Gloucester fishermen, seeks $200,000 for research exploring the harvesting of whiting by opening a currently-closed portion of the fishery near Stellwagen Bank grounds.
Another, one of two submitted by Ann Molloy and Ocean Crest Seafoods, seeks $395,000 to research and develop the process and facilities for extracting the versatile chitin from lobster and crab shells for later use in the medical and pharmaceutical industries — truly an innovative proposal aimed at transitioning the city’s waterfront into new businesses, just as Ocean Crest has already done with its Neptune’s Harvest fertilizer.
That, however, was September. And it was in late January that Daniel Namur, NOAA’s Maryland-based program director for the Saltonstall-Kennedy grant program, said the agency’s reviewers were “wrapping up the merit review process” and the final list of successful candidates could be finalized “within the next week.”