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September 26, 2002

Fishermen’s Partnership Supports Northeast Science Task Force

The Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership (MFP) voted strong support for the Northeast Science Task Force, which has been proposed by Senators Kennedy and Kerry and Congressmen Delahunt, Frank, and Tierney. David Bergeron, Coordinator of the Partnership, said, "The goal of the Task Force is to restore confidence in the science which has been called into question by recent information about flawed National Marine Fisheries Service trawl surveys."

Paul Diodati, Director of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF), has taken the lead in organizing the Directors of the Fishery Agencies of the New England States to spearhead the Task Force. 
The Task Force is needed to resolve contention over the shaky evidence underlying proposed fishery regulations and potential inaccuracies in National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) assessments. Enactment of the regulations would tear apart the economic and social fabric of the New England fishing industry.

Rodney Avila of the Trawlers Survival Fund said, "It is more important now than ever for all fishermen to set aside their differences and support something that can make real improvement to the system."

Vito Giacalone, representing the Northeast Seafood Coalition at the meeting said, "We should give our State Director our blessing to pursue his initiative to form the Task Force. It is the most realistic option we have to gather science regionally." Al Ferent, MFP president added, "Involving fishermen is the only way to get reliable data and fair representation." John Pappalardo of the Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen’s Association said, "Fishermen have everything to gain by participating in this Task Force."

Paul Diodati, DMF director said, "I am pleased that the fishing industry is supporting our initiative because the direct involvement of fishermen on the Task Force is essential to achieving one of our goals, which is to gain industry confidence in the science that is used to guide fisheries management."

The Massachusetts Fishermen's Partnership (MFP) is an umbrella organization of 17 commercial fishing associations representing all gear and geographic sectors of the Massachusetts fishing industry. The organization promotes the common interests and economic viability of commercial fishermen and fishing families.

The Partnership is urging that the Northeast Science Task Force meet before the New England Fishery Management Council is scheduled to vote on Amendment 13 options in November.

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