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| Press Release

Fishing Communities, Massachusetts Officials Call for New Science Center Home in New Bedford

NEW BEDFORD, MA / ACCESSWIRE / September 11, 2018 / Today, 18 Massachusetts elected officials joined hundreds of Northeast fishermen and businesses to urge NOAA to relocate its Northeast Fisheries Science Center from Woods Hole to New Bedford, Massachusetts.

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, six Massachusetts state legislators, 11 members of the New Bedford City Council, the New Bedford Port Authority, and hundreds of fishermen, businesses, and vessels joined together in signing the letter. Signatories hail from across the East Coast, including from Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Virginia, and North Carolina.

According to the letter, addressed to Acting Administrator Rear Admiral Tim Gallaudet, moving the science center to New Bedford would place NOAA closer to the commercial fishing industry. A move would present NOAA with a "once-in-a-generation opportunity" to improve relations and build trust with commercial fishermen.

"We believe that by siting the facility in the undisputed center of the commercial fishing industry on the East Coast, the Administration could at least begin to break down barriers to communication, and repair the distrust that has plagued the relationship between the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the fishing industry in the Northeast for decades," the letter states.

The letter notes that the current science center in Woods Hole is located far away from the region's major commercial fishing ports. The letter argues that this physical distance hinders engagement between NOAA and the industry.

In contrast, the Port of New Bedford has, for the last 17 years, been the highest grossing commercial fishing port in the United States, and is one of the hubs of Northeast commercial fishing.

"If the science center were located in New Bedford, the Administration could be assured that its personnel would have considerably greater opportunity for formal and informal interaction with industry stakeholders, and each side would get to know one another in ways and to a degree that have long eluded both," the letter states.

The letter, from major fishing industry stakeholders inviting fisheries scientists and regulators to the nation's top fishing port, marks a significant shift, and illustrates a desire among the fishing industry to engage with fisheries scientists. The letter concludes on a positive note, hoping that co-location would have the ability "to create conditions for a new era of respect, trust and cooperation."

Read the letter here

About Saving Seafood

Saving Seafood is a a non-profit corporation funded by the fishing industry. Saving Seafood conducts media and public outreach on behalf of the seafood industry, operates the National Coalition for Fishing Communities, and undertakes communications efforts to keep industry members and the public aware of issues of concern. Saving Seafood works with vessel owners, fishermen, seafood processors and fishing organizations across the United States who are committed to the preservation of the resource that has provided their livelihood, and that of their American forebears, for generations.

SOURCE: Saving Seafood

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