Cape Ann lawmakers Bruce Tarr and Ann-Margaret Ferrante walked a thin line last week when they sat down and penned a letter to state Attorney General Maura Healey on the issue of at-sea monitoring.

The state Senate minority leader and state representative, respectively, wanted to enlist Healey's support in the legal campaign to block NOAA Fisheries' plan to shift the cost of mandated at-sea monitoring (ASM) to groundfish permit holders on March 1 and they knew they were racing the clock.

They also didn't want to overplay their hand by pressuring Healey to follow a specific course of remedy, such as having Massachusetts become an intervening plaintiff in the ongoing federal lawsuit filed by New Hampshire fisherman David Goethel seeking to block NOAA Fisheries' plan to transfer the responsibility of funding ASM to the fishermen as of Tuesday.

"We didn't want to pre-suppose any method of support," Tarr said. "We just believe that this plan represents such an injustice that it would be a serious mistake not to look at every option and we wanted to make sure the commercial fishing industry is represented."

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