John Bullard, new NOAA fisheries' regional administrator, casts net for fishermen's comment
NEW BEDFORD, Mass. -- September 20, 2012 -- Former mayor John K. Bullard, NOAA Fisheries' new Northeast regional administrator, met with fishermen Wednesday and faced a high tide of frustration.
"Here I am, six weeks into the job, trying to figure out how to help in this very difficult situation," said Bullard. " ... Let me know what you think I should pay attention to."
After serving as New Bedford's mayor, Bullard was director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Sustainable Development and was immediate past president of Sea Education Association.
He said the purpose of the public meetings he is holding in his new role is to help him identify the top issues he should learn about and focus on.
The crowd of about 30 at New Bedford's Waypoint Event Center honed in on a major one: cuts in catch limits and the rationale behind them.
"When you want to know about the fish, where to get the codfish, the yellowtail ... you ask me," said John Oliveira, a 45-year-old captain of the vessel "Triunfo," who has been a groundfisherman since he was a teenager.
Last month, the New England Fishery Management Council's groundfish committee projected cuts of 70 percent or more for species such as cod and haddock in the 2013 fishing year. Local fishermen have said repeatedly that they don't believe surveyors are accurately assessing the stocks.
Read the full story at the New Bedford Standard Times