Fresh from a 10-day orientation on Capitol Hill, North Shore congressman-elect Seth Moulton made his first official stop in Gloucester, Massachusetts, on board the Jenny G.
"The fishery is in crisis, and I've got to understand what they're doing so I'm here to learn, I'm here to listen to learn and see how they play either trade and to be their advocate in Washington," he said.
Gloucester fisherman, like most in New England, are frustrated by federal regulations that have significantly reduced the amount of fish they are allowed to catch. Most recently in an emergency order from NOAA, the agency all but banned cod fishing in the Gulf of Maine for six months. Scientists say it is to protect the species from further decline, but fisherman aren't buying it.
"I've heard the same old excuses from scientific recommendations that the fish are in trouble/concentrating in one small area and that's why you're catching so many of them – but they been saying the same thing for two generations of fish and we still see fish in the traditional areas. In fact the card stock seems to be expanding," long-time Gloucester fisherman Vito Giacalone said.
On a mild day in November, you might expect that all fishing boats in Gloucester would be out on the water. But at Fisherman's Wharf, it was a full house.
Moulton said those out-of-work fishermen actually want the same thing as the environmentalists: A sustainable fishery. All agree the science isn't good enough.
"There have been some good proposals, even right here on the North Shore, like the Nahant lab has proposed a different way more accurately Count to fish and NOAA doesn't want to hear about it. So I'm going to take time to not only understand what the fishermen are doing, but also understand the science," he said.