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Moulton, Massachusetts Lawmakers Fight to Protect Lobster Industry

Aug 08, 2015 02:33PM ● By Kieran Gilman
(Editor's Note: The following information was submitted by the offices of the Congressmen and Senators involved.)

Peabody, MA – Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) announced today he sent a letter to federal regulators expressing concerns with a proposed expansion of the Northeast Fishery Observer Program to cover the Massachusetts lobster industry. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey and Congressmen William Keating and Stephen F. Lynch joined Moulton on the letter to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
In the letter, the legislators called the proposed expansion “duplicative and unnecessary” and called on the agency to provide additional clarity on the impact to the lobster industry: “[T]he agency needs a comprehensive plan to address the concerns raised by the Massachusetts lobstermen, whose industry is directly impacted by expansion of the [Northeast Fishery Observer Program]. We request that you provide clarity to our constituents on the questions they have raised relating to the cost, duration, and responsibility for the safety of observers onboard vessels.”
Beth Casoni, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, praised the lawmakers’ effort: “The Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association is extremely concerned about the Northeast Fishery Observer Program’s lack of collaboration to eliminate the redundancy in effort and expenditure on the collection of data sets between state and federal agencies. We are hopeful to resolve this issue without any further undue stressors being implemented on the commercial lobster fishermen. Commercial lobster fishermen already work within confined spaces and having another person on the vessel would be unsafe to themselves and the observer. I would like to thank Congressmen Seth Moulton, William Keating and Stephen Lynch along with Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey for their continued support of the commercial lobster industry here in the Commonwealth.”
“The current state of our groundfish industry shows what can happen when federal agencies implement new policies without sound science and without considering the consequences,” said Moulton. “The hardworking lobstermen of the Commonwealth have worked closely with state regulators to preserve and maintain a sustainable lobster fishery. NOAA's efforts to expand the observer program are duplicative of those already in place at the state level and raise serious concerns that must be addressed. I look forward to working with all stakeholders on this issue to make sure our lobster industry continues to thrive." 
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