Mar 26 2012

Estimated 1,000 Fishermen Rally for Reform in Protest Staged in Nation’s Capital

Recreational and commercial fishermen gather on Capitol Hill  on Wednesday to call for reform of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act. AP Photo 

Written By By Don Cuddy

Around 1,000 commercial and recreational fishermen from around the country gathered near the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to call attention to the regulatory difficulties facing the fishing industry on the East and West coasts.

The rally, billed as Keep Fishermen Fishing, was organized to seek reforms to the Magnuson Stevens Act, the law that governs fishing in federal waters.

Fishermen and industry groups have long complained that inflexible and onerous regulations are hampering their ability to fish and forcing some independent fishermen to abandon their traditional way of life.

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell was among those who spoke at the rally. “There was a great show of support from the fishing community and a big turnout from Congress,” he said. Several senators and around a dozen House members spoke at the gathering, according to the mayor, including a large New England delegation that included Massachusetts Sens. John Kerry and Scott Brown and Reps. Barney Frank, John Tierney and Bill Keating.

Bristol County District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter, running against Keating for Congress in the 9th District, also spoke.

Mitchell, who estimated the crowd at 1,000, focused his remarks on the need to keep fishermen in New England on the water by adopting greater flexibility in the rigid timelines established for rebuilding fish stocks.

“We need regulations geared to the reality at sea and we need more money for research and better stock assessments,” he said.

Read the rest of the article on SouthCoastToday.

 

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