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March 06, 2006

Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission Supports RFA Position Concerning S2308, The

In a letter submitted to the Massachusetts Legislature's Coastal Caucus, MFAC expressed profound concerns with S2308

The Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission (MFAC) supports anglers in their concerns with S2308, otherwise known as the "Oceans Act". In a letter submitted to the Massachusetts Legislature's Coastal Caucus, MFAC expressed profound concerns with S2308 that mirrored RFA's objections. The letter asks legislators to address numerous concerns, including that S2308 will lead to the establishment of arbitrary No-Fishing Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Massachusetts' waters if the bill were to become law in its current form.

"We appreciate that the MFAC recognized the same problems with S2308 that RFA has touted since the legislation was introduced last summer," said Barry Gibson, New England Regional Director.

The MFAC also raised concerns regarding the establishment of a new regulatory process that puts too much unilateral power in the hands of the Secretary of the Environment.
"Good government requires a system of checks and balances. The MFAC is correct in its opinion that no single political appointee should be vested with the power to develop, adopt, and implement something as critical as a Massachusetts ocean-use plan," said Gibson.

Additionally, the MFAC also noted that S2308 appears to be ambiguous and does not offer sufficient new protection from emerging threats, while creating ambiguity concerning which agency and administrative process is responsible for the management and regulation of fisheries. 
 
"Considering all of the shortcomings of the bill, the opinion of the MFAC reinforces our position that from the first day the real target of the S2308 bill was fishermen, and not improving overall ocean management. We will continue to work with key legislators to assure the bill addresses emerging development threats and that S2308 cannot be used to satisfy the whims of environmental groups who seek the establishment of arbitrary MPAs," said Gibson.