THE US city of Boston, still recovering from the terrorist bomb attack on the Marathon two weeks ago, will come alive again later today to the sound of protesting fishermen.
The regional Northeast Seafood Coalition, is holding a major public rally calling for more Federal help for the region's groundfishing industry which is under severe pressure at the moment. Because of restrictions, catches of cod, the staple species of the area, have fallen by over 70 per cent.
The Northeast Seafood Coalition has issued an open invitation for fishermen and their supporters to attend the rally which starts from the Boston Fish Pier. It says the rally will provide an opportunity for the groundfish industry to call upon the federal government for short and long-term assistance and mitigation that are critical to keeping businesses viable.
With the start of the new fishing season on Wednesday this week, the organisers are keen to get their message across to the government and to the public. They say the industry has been in decline since the Obama administration adopted a policy of making the industry move to a catch share management system. This provokes fishermen into trading their share of the quota which has benefited larger vessels to the detriment of the smaller independently owned trawlers.
Last September the acting commerce secretary, Rebecca Blank, declared the Northeast (New England) ground fishing sector to be an economic disaster zone. However, the fishermen say no financial help has been forthcoming.
The Coalition said in a statement at the weekend: "The upcoming fishing years for the Northeast groundfish fishery were supposed to be a time of prosperity -key stocks were on target to rebuild by 2014.
"Now, however, despite adhering to strict science and management measures and remaining within allowable catch limits, the Northeast commercial groundfish fishery has been declared a disaster and faces a catastrophic "perfect storm" of circumstances on May 1. Every segment of the fleet will hurt in 2013. The reductions will trickle down and affect our fishing communities, our economies and the American seafood consumer.† Now, more than ever, we have to work together for the future of this fishery."
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