Opinion: Finding his way through industry morass

Willis “Bill” Blount calls himself “the poster child for struggling fishermen” in the hyper-regulated Northeast fishery.

His boat, the 77-foot stern trawler Ruthie B., for years has been the only boat fishing out of Nantucket, but for the last couple of months it has spent a lot of time in New Bedford harbor getting some necessary work done while the expenses continue to pile up.

Blount was the sole fishing permit holder to attend a three-hour help session in the city for those applying for a slice of the fisheries disaster money, according to Kevin Creighton, fiscal officer for the Mass. Division of Fisheries. Dozens of others have already filed their paperwork, he said.

Blount is 69, with absolutely no intention of doing anything but returning to fishing once all the work and inspections are done on his boat, which he built in 1979 at his family’s Rhode Island boatyard a few years after he relocated himself to Nantucket.

For the last decade or so, he said, he has been struggling to adjust to ever-increasing restrictions. “You have to be creative to make it,” he said.

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