Congressman John Tierney today issued his second invitation to the Secretary of Commerce, John Bryson, to meet with our local fishing community at his earliest convenience. The letter comes nearly 6-months following Tierney's initial invitation and days after yet another potentially devastating announcement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
April 24, 2012
The Honorable John Bryson
United State Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20230
Dear Secretary Bryson:
As you may recall, shortly after your confirmation as Secretary of Commerce, I extended an invitation for you to visit the Gloucester area of Massachusetts to meet with local fishermen and interested stakeholders. With nearly sixth months having passed, and with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) continuing to make decisions that have a significant impact to the economic livelihood of fisherman in my district, I wanted to take this opportunity to respectfully renew my request for you to visit Gloucester.
The nature and number of NOAA's regulatory actions continue to frustrate local fishermen and interested stakeholders. Following last week's announcement regarding harbor porpoises and the shutdown of the gillnet fishery, one such stakeholder was reported in The Gloucester Daily Times as saying, "[o]ur heads are spinning now." Representatives of the Northeast Seafood Coalition (NSC) have been reaching out to NOAA since last December to set up a meeting to discuss this harbor porpoise issue and have received no response. It was believed that any action was to occur after analysis of a two-year monitoring period (ending in May of this year) and that there would be a sufficient opportunity for them to weigh in. Last week's announcement has the potential to financially devastate dozens of boats coming out of Gloucester Harbor and was considered particularly disappointing in light of NOAA's more recent efforts to reach out to industry during the decision-making process on the Gulf of Maine cod issue.
It is imperative to have clear, constructive and consistent communication. As such, I continue to believe it is as important as ever for you to travel to Gloucester, listen to these fishermen and their families, and engage in a constructive dialogue with them. Having recently met with local fishermen, I believe they would appreciate hearing how you and the Department plan to address their concerns and bring a renewed sense of fairness to issues impacting them.
A copy of my initial letter to you on this matter is enclosed. Thank you again for your attention to and consideration of this request. I look forward to hearing from you on when a visit to the Gloucester area can be scheduled.
John F. Tierney
Member of Congress