Massachusetts' two U.S. senators didn't waste much time in the New Year before demanding answers from NOAA on the unscheduled stock assessment last summer that led to the effective shuttering of cod fishing in the Gulf of Maine and other fishery management issues.


In the letter to NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan dated Jan. 5, Sens. Edward J. Markey and Elizabeth Warren asked for responses to nearly a dozen questions about specific fishery management decisions by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that directly impact the imperiled Northeast multi-species groundfish fishery.


They included queries regarding the science and timing of stock assessments, the data used to determine the Gulf of Maine cod spawning areas closed under the new interim restrictions and the timetable for instituting the $11 million vessel buyout/ buyback contained in the third phase of the nearly $33 million the region received in federal fishery disaster relief funds.


"The management decisions based off this stock assessment update will have serious economic repercussions for fishing communities in Massachusetts and we request that you provide information about the stock assessment update, the interim rule and future management actions," Warren and Markey wrote to Sullivan.


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