Congressman John Tierney (D-MA) today called yesterday's decision by the New England Fishery Management Council to recommend reductions of 77 percent from last year's catch for each of the next three years for cod in the Gulf of Maine, devastating for Gloucester fishermen and stressed his renewed dedication to securing immediate assistance for our fishing community and a longer term solution to prevent this kind of disaster from occurring again.
"Yesterday's announcement by the New England Fishery Management Council, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) continued refusal to provide another year of emergency action before cutting the cod catch shares, could be catastrophic for many fishermen in Gloucester and across New England. Even as the Department of Commerce recognized this economic disaster with a declaration last September, the Department seems unable or unwilling to provide any relief or common sense solutions.
"If Congress does not take action immediately, families and communities in Massachusetts and throughout New England, are going to hit rock bottom. This is not rhetoric or hyperbole, this is real life. As Gloucester fisherman, Joe Orlando, said yesterday, 'I don't see myself leaving the dock next year, I'm not sure we're going fishing (anymore)'.
"In the coming days I will be introducing legislation to provide relief in the short term, but I know that is not the end of the road. We also need to keep our attention on finding a common sense solution to ensure the survival of this historic industry," Tierney said.
Yesterday, the New England Fishery Management Council voted to recommend reductions of 77 percent from last year's catch for each of the next three years for Gulf of Maine Cod. It also recommended a one year cut of 61 percent from last year to the cod catch on Georges Bank, a vast area off Cape Cod, which was named for the fish. The council's recommendations are subject to approval by the federal government, which is expected to put them in place by May 1.