'Take the 'no' out of NOAA,' rally speakers urge

BOSTON — At the northeast corner of the Boston Fish Pier, not far from an unloading boat, Massachusetts’ elected leaders from the U.S. Senate and House and lawmakers from the State House came together Monday in an 11th hour rally aimed at convincing the White House or the outgoing acting Secretary of Commerce to overrule the leaders of NOAA and grant a regulatory reprieve to the Northeast groundfishery.

Barring the extraordinary, draconian cuts in landings for the 2013 fishing season will take effect tomorrow — May 1, the start of the new fishing year. Cuts in landings of Gulf of Maine Cod, the lifeblood for the inshore fleet based in Gloucester, would be 77 percent of this year’s allocation. Landings of cod and yellowtail in offshore Georges Bank would be cut by more than 60 percent, paralyzing the fleet from New Bedford.

It was Attorney General Martha Coakley, a leading advocate for the fishing industry along with Gov. Deval Patrick who put it directly to NOAA’s Gloucester-based Northeast regional administrator while addressing the roughly 300 fishermen present as well.

“I hope, Mr. Bullard,” she said, speaking beneath a big canvas tent, “that you can take the ‘no’ out of NOAA.”

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