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December 23, 1999

Fishermen Declare Victory
Over Georges Bank Drilling

The Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership (MFP) enthusiastically endorses the Canadian Government’s recent decision to extend the moratorium on oil and gas exploration and development on Georges Bank until Dec. 31, 2012. In making this historic announcement the government made it clear that they would not even consider another review on this issue for at least 10 years.

This is an unqualified victory for fishermen, scientists and environmentalists in Canada and America. The MFP has actively campaigned to protect the Georges Bank fishing grounds from oil exploitation for the past two years. Working in conjunction with the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Assoc. and politicians on this side of the border and with fishermen’s organizations such as NORIGS 2000 and environmental groups such as Ecology Action Network and Sierra Club in Canada, we have championed the views of local fishermen and their environmental concerns.

The Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership (MFP) is an umbrella organization of 18 commercial fishing associations in Massachusetts that represents all gear and geographic sectors of the Massachusetts fishing industry. The MFP is also sponsor of the Fishing Partnership Health Plan which covers 1500 lives in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, And New Hampshire.

The MFP would like to extend our appreciation to some of this country's most visionary leaders who have written impassioned letters, issued powerful public statements and made persuasive phone calls to bring about this successful outcome. In particular the Massachusetts Fishermen's Partnership is grateful to Senators Kennedy and Kerry, Governor Cellucci, Congressmen Delahunt, Frank, and Tierney, the Under Secretary of Commerce James Baker, and Director of NOAA, Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management, the New England Fishery Management Council, the City of Gloucester, CLF, and the World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fish Workers for their continued efforts on behalf of the fishermen and the environment. Many others contributed to this success by working tirelessly in the background.

This is a triumph of science over propaganda, of experience over conjecture, and most importantly, of common sense and the common wealth over corporate greed. The multi-national oil companies overlooked the best interests of the Georges Bank stakeholders by pursuing an agenda that was more concerned with corporate profits than with the general welfare. Clearly the unity of fishermen and community grass-roots organizations internationally made this victory possible.

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