Markey Named House Chair of Fisheries Subcommittee; Meeting Wednesday to Illustrate Challenges to Industry, Explore State Response
(BOSTON) – State Representatives Christopher M. Markey (D-Dartmouth) was recently appointed by his colleagues on the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture to be the House Chair of the Joint Subcommittee on Catch Share and Fisheries Management. The Subcommittee will convene its first public hearing Wednesday, October 12 at 10:30 at the State House in Hearing Room B-2.
The purpose of the Subcommittee is to bring a greater awareness of the challenges that the fishing industry faces to members of the State Legislature, and to develop an appropriate response to the Federal government. “If you don’t live in an area of the state with a fishing port nearby, you may forget just how important this industry is to our State’s economy as a whole. It’s very important that the Legislature does not forget, and this Subcommittee will help to keep the issue front and center,” said Markey, who will be joined on the Subcommittee by Senate Chair Daniel Wolf of Harwich.
Like New Bedford Mayor Scott Lang and members of New Bedford’s federal delegation, Markey takes exception to NOAA’s current “catch share” system born of its uneven implementation of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the federal legislation created to manage fisheries, and also to the extreme, retaliatory tactics used to punish violators. Markey, who represents the Ninth Bristol District encompassing all of Dartmouth and parts of New Bedford, Freetown, and Lakeville, said, “the mantra is ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’ but the stringent, draconian regulations of NOAA (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) are, in effect, pushing people out of the industry from small boat owners and captains and crews, to fish processing companies. In our region, in particular, such policies have proved disastrous and, if left unchecked, the worst is yet to come.”
Local individuals scheduled to testify include Harriet Didriksen of New Bedford Ship Supply and Pamela Lafreniere, a New Bedford attorney who represents the fishing industry. Other members of the State’s fishing industry from the ports of Harwich and Gloucester will also be on hand to provide testimony.