A group of more than 60 state lawmakers, including many with districts far from the sea, asked Gov. Deval Patrick Thursday to appeal directly to President Obama, his personal friend from their Chicago days, to grant emergency relief from impending cutbacks in commercial fishery landings widely feared to render the commercial fishing industry “non-viable.”
The letter was drafted and circulated for supporting signatures by Sen. Bruce Tarr and Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante, both of Gloucester
The letter to Patrick asserted that the Magnuson-Stevens Act allows “interim actions” such as those proposed and emphasized that they “would still reduce catch and mortality rates but would not devastate the industry.”
The letter thanked Patrick for initiating the request for a formal declaration that the Northeast groundfishery, centered in Gloucester and New Bedford but extending from Maine to New York State, had failed.
Such a legal finding was made in writing in September by Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank, but a $150 million disaster relief appropriation was killed in the House at the tail end of the lame duck session of the 112th Congress. The disaster declaration request from Patrick had been made 11 months earlier, and was followed by similar pleas from the governors of Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York.
Read the full story at the Gloucester Daily Times>>