GLOUCESTER, Mass. -- August 2, 2012 -- New Bedford’s John Bullard, a recreational sailor with government experience from mayor to the Clinton administration, Monday takes the helm of a shaky ship when he becomes regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries Northeast offices here.
But Bullard arrives with a reputation as a reasonable, personable, political creature.
The industry that’s regulated, administered and governed out of Gloucester stretches from Maine to North Carolina, and is stuck in a spiral of consolidation — spurred by a highly disputed catch share commodification imposed on the groundfishery in 2010 under the gaze of NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, who remains at the agency’s national helm.
Bullard was appointed by Lubchenco on July 2, but she who gave him “no marching orders” whatsoever, Bullard said in an interview Wednesday after meeting with the some 200 members of his regional team who work out of the $13 million Blackburn Industrial Park edifice built for the agency and opened three years ago.
“Nobody told me, ‘Here’s what you’ve got to do,’” he said, adding that Lubchenco and Eric Schwaab, her top assistant, made it clear “they were committed to change.”