PROVIDENCE – Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin has filed an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court in support of the Massachusetts lawsuit against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration seeking to reverse a federal regulation that reduces ground-fishing allotments by 77 percent.
The NOAA oversees the Northeast Fishery Management Council, which regulates the fishing industries of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. The Massachusetts suit alleges that the Northeast Fishery Management Council failed to consider the economic impact of the ground fishing regulation, and that the criteria used to assess ground-fish stock is based on antiquated and unfounded methods.
A release from Kilmartin’s office called the 77 percent reduction “Draconian” and suggested that, while Rhode Island has not yet been affected by the regulation, such a reduction could devastate the state’s fishing community if it were implemented locally.
“As a state, we recognize the importance of protecting and managing the marine fishery resources,” said Kilmartin. “We also recognize that we must adopt principles and policies that will ensure the protection, preservation and enhancement of our natural resources so that present and future generations may enjoy them. Although there are numerous provisions of state and federal rules and regulations in place to protect Rhode Island’s broad interest in its fisheries, it is more important than ever for the federal government to craft regulations that balance the need to conserve fishery resources with the well being of the fishing communities that it will impact.”