Mass. lawmakers fight lobster closures

Federal fishing regulators are being pushed by a bipartisan lobby to reconsider closing Massachusetts Bay to lobstering from January to May, a move that would affect an area extending from Cape Ann’s southern coastline to Cape Cod’s northern shores.

The restrictions, which also apply to Cape Cod Bay, would close the bays to protect right and humpback whales.

The issue is just the latest point of friction between Massachusetts political leaders and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, whose regulations and scientific data on groundfish, including cod, have long been in dispute and blamed by many for triggering the need for an economic disaster declaration and some $33 million in federal disaster aid for the Northeast.

The lawmakers — including Senate President Therese Murray, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, and state Reps. Ann-Margaret Ferrante, D-Gloucester, and Brad Hill, the Ipswich Republican whose district includes Manchester — argue that the lobstering rule is based on bad science and will hurt the Bay State lobster industry.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker on Friday joined the bipartisan effort.

Read the full story at the Gloucester Times>>

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