August 12, 2014
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is taking steps to cut back on the harvesting of seafood to address what it claims is a dire need to preserve a marine species.
Yet, state lawmakers and those within the seafood industry say the dramatic move is unnecessary, that it is being based on “bad science” and that it will cripple the industry — doing perhaps irreparable harm to fishing communities in the process.
That, of course, has been the standing argument and NOAA procedure at the core of the federally recognized “economic disaster” within the Northeast groundfishery — with the federal government now shelling out a total of $75 million in disaster aid, including direct aid to Gloucester and other cod and groundfishermen who are still yet to receive a dime of it.
But the latest declaration by NOAA and its Division of Marine Fisheries isn’t connected to groundfishing. This time, NMFS has imposed a new rule designed to protect right and humpback whales — a mandate that prohibits lobster traps in an area stretching from Cape Cod Bay to Boston between Jan. 1 and April 30). And that is just one more recipe for disaster for the Massachusetts and New England seafood economy.
Want to read more about Massachusetts lobstering? Click here…