August 14, 2002
Mass Fishing Partnership Proposes Priorities for Fishing
BOSTON - The Massachusetts Fishermen's Partnership (MFP), an umbrella
organization for 17 commercial fishing associations in the Commonwealth, will
submit recommendations today to the Governor's Task Force on Economic
Assistance. Congress has allocated $5.5 million in economic assistance to
Massachusetts to help mitigate the impacts of the interim final rule in the
Northeast Multispecies (groundfish) lawsuit, Conservation Law Foundation vs.
The recommendations are based on community meetings and a survey designed
to elicit areas where economic assistance would provide the broadest
benefits. MFP conducted four well-attended meetings in Gloucester, New
Bedford, Boston and Chatham. Representatives of Massachusetts' congressional
delegation attended all four meetings. MFP continues to survey vessel owners,
crewmembers, and shoreside business owners. Copies of the survey and of the
preliminary report are available on the MFP website
Madeleine Hall-Arber, author of the study, and Urban Affairs Planning
Office director John Moynihan will join Alexander Ferent, president of the
Massachusetts Fishermen's Partnership, in presenting the recommendations to
the Task Force. Results to date suggest that highest priority be given to
maintaining the fishing industry’s infrastructure. Unless the fishing
infrastructure is supported now there will be no fishing industry in
Massachusetts when the groundfish stocks are fully rebuilt. MFP will make the
- The funds should be used to support debt restructuring for all sectors
of the industry
- Days at Sea must be compensated by additional appropriations.
- Assistance should not be used to support new long-term programs .
Policy changes are needed. In particular, regulatory changes should not be
permitted to be imposed without fair notice.
- Allocated funds are insufficient to compensate for the impacts of
current regulations and the MFP does not wish to complicate any further
legal claims of the industry.
The Partnership's work and the survey are ongoing. The interim final rule
in the Northeast groundfish lawsuit affects the entire New England region,
and implementing additional restrictions when stocks are recovering may be
very costly both in aid dollars and in social services required.
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