Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Managing State Waters, Protecting Fishing

On January 4th Ian Bowles, the state’s Secretary Of Energy and Environmental Affairs, released Massachusetts’ first Ocean Management Plan. This plan was the result of legislation which I co-sponsored with Senator Robert O’Leary of the Cape and the Islands District. We spent many hours working to ensure that this bill protected commercial and recreational fishing and established a proper framework to govern development in state waters.

I was honored to have the opportunity to collaborate with stakeholders in commercial and recreational fishing and many environmental organizations at every step in the process of engineering the legislation and the plan which has resulted from it.

When the bill was passed into law and signed by Governor Patrick, I went to work as a member of the Ocean Advisory Committee to guide the development of the plan. Joining me on the 17 member commission were, among others, Gloucester Mayor Carolyn Kirk and Gloucester resident Jack Clark, representing the Massachusetts Audubon Society.

I’m pleased that the legislation that we worked so hard to write and to pass has resulted in a plan which is the first of its kind in the entire country, and which:

---Supports our Commercial Fishing Industry
---Provides strong safeguards for critical environmental resources
---Sets standards and provides the opportunity for wind energy facilities in appropriate settings.

The plan is an important step, and builds on the work of former Gloucester State Representative Dick Silva, who was instrumental in creating Ocean Sanctuaries years ago.

You can view the plan by clicking here.