March 29, 2016 – GLOUCESTER, Mass. – Earlier today, in a webinar releasing a new report regarding the environmental composition of Cashes Ledge, in response to Cape Cod Times reporter Doug Fraser’s question as to whether there is an imminent threat to Cashes Ledge, The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Director of US Oceans, Northeast, Peter Baker stated:
“..the different areas – Cashes Ledge, the coral canyons, and the sea mounts – have different pressures on them, and different levels of imminent pressures that might be put on them. For instance Cashes Ledge, some of the council members, led by Terry Alexander, who is the president of the Associated Fisheries of Maine and was quoted in a press release last week, put up a motion just last year at the NEFMC to open Cashes Ledge once again to bottom trawling. The other guy, Vito Giacalone, who was quoted in that press release, at a public forum in Gloucester just last month, said that the fishing industry is eager to get in and catch the cod that are in Cashes Ledge. So, certainly the leaders of the groundfish industry have made it clear, recently, that they’re eager and working to get back in there and that at every available opportunity they’re going to try and open up Cashes to bottom trawling again. So I’d say, yes, absolutely, there’s an imminent threat to Cashes Ledge.”
The statement attributed to Vito Giacalone of the Northeast Seafood Coalition, and the description of the motion made by Councilmember Terry Alexander are factually inaccurate. There was never a motion or statement made proposing access to Cashes Ledge.
The problem is the terminology used. “Cashes Ledge” is often used as verbal shorthand to refer to the large, 1400 square kilometer ‘Mortality Closure’ that includes Cashes Ledge and the surrounding areas and is an artifact of the old effort control system created to protect cod.