GLOUCESTER (CBS/AP) — Massachusetts Governor-elect Charlie Baker is vowing to support the state’s fishing industry as he questions the research that led federal regulators on Monday to close commercial and recreational cod fishing in parts of the Gulf of Maine.
Baker met with fishermen Saturday who told him that their industry is dying because it is being choked by federal regulations.
Baker told reporters after the hour-long session that Massachusetts has the capacity to provide federal overseers — including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — with information about fish stocks in the region.
Federal regulators say the Atlantic cod population is at an all-time low. Baker says he doesn’t believe federal data and called on using local university researchers and facilities to create their own data to, in his belief, more accurately reflect the cod population.
“It’s a big ocean out there. I wonder why the Commonwealth isn’t a more aggressive advocate for just simply answering the question, what’s going on with fishing stocks and in the ocean,” Baker told reporters.
Baker said the federal findings are at odds with the experiences of fishermen, who are finding fish to catch. The state hasn’t done enough to fight for fisherman, he said.
The six-month emergency restrictions include a 200-pound limit on how much a fishing vessel can catch during a single trip. The New England Fishery Management Council could make the ban permanent when its members meet in Newport, RI, next week.
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WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mark Katic Reports
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