Cape Cod Times 03/03/2013
When it’s time to get down and dig in, for these Democrats and Republicans it’s … ONE BIG CAPE PARTY
By PATRICK CASSIDY email@example.com
When state Rep. Cleon Turner, D-Dennis, was first elected to the Legislature in 2004, he was the new kid on the Cape and Islands delegation. The lawyer and former Dennis police officer joined a group of seasoned lawmakers representing the region in the House alongside two well-known state senators. "When I got there, there were seven legislators from the Cape," Turner said recently about the House contingent.
Nearly a decade later, redistricting has reduced the number of Cape and Islands state representatives to six, and Turner is the only member remaining from his first term. With the November election of Brian Mannal to the 2nd Barnstable District seat long held by Demetrius Atsalis, the overhaul on the House side of the delegation is now complete.
Turnover in the state Senate is more mixed: Sen. President Therese Murray, D-Plymouth, is serving her 11th two-year term and Sen. Dan Wolf, D-Harwich, is in his second term. For a region defined largely by its watery borders and an island mentality, the cohesiveness of the delegation is paramount to its success, according to lawmakers who spoke to the Times. I would say that the delegation works very well together," state Rep. Randy Hunt, R-East Sandwich, said.
PLAYING TO THEIR STRENGTHS
Hunt and Rep. David Vieira, R-East Falmouth, may not always agree with their Democratic counterparts politically, but this has little effect on their ability to reach across the aisle to work on issues important to the region, they said. "We often get together and dig into the big things," Hunt said about topics such as transportation and wastewater management. The atmosphere has become more collegial as the lawmakers spend more time working together, he said.
The delegation meets to discuss bills they intend to file, and each legislator takes the lead on issues important to them or in areas where they can employ a particular skill. Hunt – a certified public accountant – is well-regarded for his acumen with numbers and has led the way on efforts to address opiate drug addiction .
Turner, a leader on regional school district issues, is known for his attention to detail.
State Rep. Sarah Peake, D-Provincetown, has led on tourism, fishing and transportation issues, including as chairwoman of the House regional transit authority caucus. "I can see and feel a change in myself this session versus previous sessions," Peake said about her increasing seniority in the Legislature.
Although the Cape and Islands delegation seems to have always worked well together, the current group's experience at the Statehouse covers a shorter period of time than when Peake was first elected in 2006, she said. When Peake came on board, the delegation had lawmakers with up to nine terms under their belts. Now the range of experience is anywhere from zero to four full terms served.
"I think that our delegation is a pretty good reflection of how the makeup of at least the House has changed also," she said about a similar statewide transformation.
Peake's predecessor, former state Rep. Shirley Gomes, R-Harwich, said the Cape and Islands delegation was more balanced politically and by gender when she was first elected.
"It was four Democrats, four Republicans, four women and four men,"she said. Gomes remembers politics being more civil during her time at the Statehouse. "There was a real comprehension about politics being the art of compromise,"she said. "Nobody is going to have it all one way."
Despite a continued sense of cohesiveness among the current Cape and Islands delegation, almost every member said they know the numbers are against them in any fight with legislators from more urban areas. "Fairer education funding, lottery funds, regional transportation – so many things are so tilted toward the big cities," said state Rep. Timothy Madden, D-Nantucket.
Off-Cape lawmakers suffer many of the same misconceptions that their constituents have about the Cape and Islands: mainly that the region is primarily affluent and that everything closes when summer ends, Madden said. "We're there to remind them, and I think that's helpful," he said about the range of socioeconomic demographics on the Cape and Islands and the continuation of life after lifeguards.
While his first priority is his own district, Madden said his second priority is always legislation proposed by members of the delegation. "We're members of the Cape Cod party when we get together,"Vieira said about the delegation, quoting former Falmouth Selectman Troy Clarkson. Vieira said he hears from colleagues in other areas of the state who are jealous of the "delegation mentality" of Cape legislators.
The turnover in recent years may be more of an advantage than a cause for concern,Vieira said, adding that his favorite political adage is "friends come and go, enemies accumulate." Although the delegation may split on topics such as taxes, the group tends to focus on its commonalities, he said.
In addition to its general collegiality, the delegation shares another advantage over most other parts of the state: Therese Murray – arguably one of the most politically influential people in the state – represents portions of the Upper Cape.
Murray's tenure and her ability to get things done give the other members of the delegation a leg up, Madden said. When Murray was first elected to the Senate in 1992, it was Henri Rauschenbach – a Republican – who pulled the delegation together, the Senate president said recently.
In her 11 terms, a lot of local issues have persisted, such as concerns about traffic over the Cape Cod Canal bridges and the use of herbicides or clearcutting to manage vegetation beneath power lines, Murray said.
Other things have changed, however, including the overwhelming amount of power among legislators from Boston, she said, adding that more of the state's leadership is coming from suburbia. "Bob DeLeo was from Revere," she said about the speaker of the House."I'm from Plymouth."
Experience and geography, however, is not as important as what a lawmaker does when he or she gets to the Statehouse, Murray said. "They're hardworking," she said about the Cape and Islands delegation. "They're not back benchers."
Peake, in particular, has proved herself not only a hard worker but also a quick study in how to work with others, Murray said. Peake was even given the honor of nominating the speaker this year, Murray said.
"She's been a star," Murray said.
The nice thing about the delegation, however, is that each individual member rises to the occasion when needed, Wolf said. "It isn't a question of one person always pulling the group together," he said. "Leadership is really issue specific, it's not position specific." The pace at the Statehouse is much more frenetic than he expected, Wolf said, adding that lawmakers are working on 5,000 different pieces of legislation.
BETTER FOR IT
Having fellow legislators to rely on for expertise makes everyone better, he said. "The whole is greater than the sum of the parts,"Wolf said. Successes, such as the recent award of a $3.35 million grant to the Cape Cod Commission to produce a regional wastewater management plan, are a testament to the work of the entire delegation, he said. The delegation has come together on wastewater in much the same way it came together on ocean planning when former state Sen. Robert O'Leary, D-Barnstable, was in office, Turner said. "We're clearly of a mind on that," he said about the need to address wastewater management on a regional level.
The most negative political sniping tends to come during elections,Turner said. "Once you get there, you're representing everyone,"he said. Even the newest member from the Cape and Islands delegation feels welcome. Mannal, who was a registered Republican until 2004, said the generally accepted paradigm of Republican versus Democrat doesn't always hold true. "I feel like we're teammates," Mannal said about the Cape delegation. "I'm certainly looking to them for help and guidance."
Fall River Tourism Summit, October 14, 2012:
A consistent message emerged at the recent Tourism Summit organized and led by Fall River City Councilor David Dennis. Again and again, presenters pointed out that Fall River has the building blocks needed to attract tourists — not only from around the country, but from around the world. Foremost among those blocks are a variety of unique, compelling tourism assets and an enviable location. Now the city needs to make a meaningful commitment to put the pieces together and move forward, capitalizing on the summit momentum. It is a testament to Councilor Dennis's vision and initiative that seven state and regional speakers with expertise in the tourism industry, including state Rep. Sarah Peake, D-Provincetown, were on the summit's impressive agenda. And as these experts made clear, coordination at both the regional and state levels is critical to developing Fall River into a thriving tourist destination. We cannot, and will not, achieve our full potential if we work in isolation.
As Rep. Peake stated: "A regional approach hits the nail on the head. That's where you see the greatest successes." Additional hallmarks of a successful tourism plan, according to Betsy Wall, executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, include staying "relentlessly focused" and maintaining a single point of contact — in other words, a tourism director. Those who oppose putting in place a central resource who would concentrate exclusively on helping the city achieve its tourism potential need to be reminded that tourism is big business. In fact, it is the third largest industry in Massachusetts. During the summit, various speakers called Fall River a potential tourist mecca, a jewel, and "the sleeping giant of tourism." Listening to the presentation and looking at the summit handout materials, none of those descriptions seemed like a stretch.
Harwich Oracle, October 11, 2012
State Representative Sarah Peake (D) of Provincetown, received the Legislator of the Year Award from the New England Water Works Association, a not-for-profit organization of water works professionals.
This presentation was made at the association’s recent annual conference in Brewster.
“This award recognizes Representative Peake’s genuine and longtime commitment to and support of the water works profession, her leadership in promoting legislation that balances the preservation of Cape Cod’s distinctive environmental setting and the needs of local water suppliers, and her advocacy for policies that ensure safe drinking water and further protect public health and safety,” said Raymond J. Raposa, NEWWA executive director.
Since 2007, Peake has served the 4th Barnstable District, which includes Brewster, Chatham, Eastham, Harwich, Orleans, Truro, Provincetown, and Wellfleet.
She actively supported the search for a critical new water supply for Provincetown and parts of Truro, which would meet peak summer demands in these communities. The new supply is expected to be activated in late 2012 or early 2013.
During the past two years, Peake has worked closely with water suppliers in Barnstable County and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection on the Water Management Act repermitting program. As part of this process, she helped these water utilities develop a viable approach to drought management that takes into account the unique nature of Cape Cod’s sole-source aquifer system.
Chefs and fishermen testimony helps keep stripers on dinner table
CHATHAM, Mass. (March 21, 2012) – Commercial fishermen from Cape Cod and chefs from Boston are united in their support of yesterday's decision by the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture to not move forward with a proposal to ban the harvest and sale of striped bass in Massachusetts.
Co-chairs Senator Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton) and Representative Anne Gobi (D-Spencer), held a hearing last month to take feedback on H.1145 and S.0392, which would have banned the sale of striped bass. The hearing was well-attended by many recreational and commercial fishermen who opposed the proposed ban. They were joined by an outpouring of support from area chefs who delivered a letter to the co-chairs signed by more than 30 chefs urging the committee to oppose the legislation.
With yesterday's announcement, this committee is effectively taking the bills off the table for any kind of legislative action this year. This will keep local striped bass on the dinner tables of Massachusetts residents.
Representative Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown) opposed the bill, stating "There was no reason, based either in science or economic impact, to adopt the proposed legislation. The recreational and commercial sectors share a common interest in the health of this fishery. We should all work together to engage in meaningful work to ensure the ongoing viability of this very important fish."
Cape and Islands Senator Dan Wolf (D-Harwich), a member of the Joint Committee, thanked his colleagues for joining him in opposition to these bills. "Fisheries management is complicated and serious business," Wolf said. "It should build off credible science, and also try to forge consensus among all of those who fish, and care about fish. These bills did neither."
"We are very grateful that our state legislators have left the job of managing striped bass to fishery managers," declared Darren Saletta, co-founder of the Massachusetts Commercial Striped Bass Association. "This culturally significant and sustainable fishery will continue for years to come. We encourage people to support Massachusetts fishing communities by asking for local stripers at restaurants and markets this summer."
"The committee recognized that our oceans and the fish in them belong to the community as a whole, not solely to the recreational fishermen," said Chefs Collaborative chairman Michael Leviton, chef/owner of Lumiere and chef/partner of Area 4. "The majority of the Massachusetts population that eats striped bass does so because a commercial fishery exists. Allocating a well managed fishery to just recreational fishermen would be unfair."
"I think the committee got it right," stated commercial fisherman Leo Maher from Chatham, Mass. "The striped bass fishery can and should be managed for all sectors of the public, and that's got to include both commercial and recreational fishermen. The committee's decision means that future generations can fish commercially for stripers."
"I'd like to think that in making their decision to put the bill to study our legislators were considering how delicious striped bass are," stated Jasper White, owner and chef of Jasper White's Summer Shack restaurants. "There is no sense in taking away this fish from the majority of the public, when really all people should have access to it."
"The committee made the right call," said Alex Carlson, a commercial striped bass fisherman from Brewster, Mass. "To ensure the continued success of the fishery, we need to look at other factors that are impacting the health of striped bass and band together to put accountability on the industrial herring fleet. We know that the herring population is way down, and a lack of herring for stripers to eat will have a detrimental effect on future populations."
"I was proud to stand in support of local commercial fishermen at the hearing," said Peter Davis, executive chef of Henrietta's Table at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Mass. and a member of Chefs Collaborative. "We need home-grown fishing businesses to thrive because these fishermen have great knowledge about sustainable fishing practices, and if we lose them, we lose that expertise and a way of life for good."
The Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen's Association works to develop and implement creative solutions that promote healthy oceans, strong fishing businesses and thriving coastal communities. It is taking action now to make sure there are fish and fishermen for future generations.www.ccchfa.org
Chefs Collaborative–the leading nonprofit network of chefs in the U.S.–is changing the sustainable food landscape using the power of connections, education and responsible buying decisions. www.chefscollaborative.org
US Begins to Dismantle Five Cape Cottages
The Boston Globe, March 14, 2012, by Brian MacQuarrie
CHATHAM – The Cape Cod National Seashore’s push to demolish five cottages it considers dangerously vulnerable has come to shove on a remote barrier beach, and many townspeople are outraged.
Despite loud opposition from Chatham residents and officials, workers have begun stripping insulation and removing sinks and windows from a cluster of spartan houses that generations of families have used as an isolated getaway on the Atlantic Ocean.
The work is scheduled to be completed by April 1, George Price, superintendent of the National Seashore, said Tuesday, so demolition will not interfere with the seasonal return of shorebirds such as the piping plover.
“It’s literally washing away,’’ Price said of North Beach Island, which was separated from the rest of Nauset Beach by an ocean breach in 2007.
But residents who have owned homes on the island for decades insist that the structures are not in imminent danger, that public input has been ignored, and that the five cottages should continue to receive year-to-year extensions from the National Park Service.
“I’m sick to my stomach over this,’’ said Donna Lumpkin of Chatham, who has been coming to a cottage on the beach since 1955. “This has been my life. We were little kids when we started going over there.’’
The National Seashore informed the residents in August that an emergency existed and that it would not renew permits for the cottages.
“I’m frustrated by this whole process,’’ said Bob Long, who lives in one of six cottages on private land on the island that are outside the National Seashore jurisdiction. Price, he added, “was able to ram this down everyone’s throat.’’
The five cottages facing demolition sit on National Seashore property. Their owners had been granted special-use permits on a year-to-year basis. The beach residents on National Seashore land, some of whom make visits to the cottages throughout the year, pay about $8,000 a year to the federal government.
In Price’s view, the time has come for those cottages to go.
“It’s unfortunate that these structures have to be removed because the experience out there is an extraordinary experience,’’ Price said. “But if we had had a normal winter, who knows what we would have been talking about today.’’
The barren stretch of dune and sand that make up North Beach Island, which had been part of the southern tip of Nauset Beach before the breach, has long been reshaped and buffeted by harsh and changing conditions. The No-Name Storm of 1991 ravaged many cottages in the area, and erosion spelled doom for others.
Despite the uncertainties of wind and water, the place enthralled residents who returned year after year for the solitude, the peace, and even the storms.
State Representative Sarah Peake said Tuesday she is “very disappointed in the decision and very discouraged at the lack of a process.’’
In her judgment, said the Provincetown Democrat, “I don’t believe there were any public safety or liability reasons to dismantle those five beach camps.’’
Part of President John F. Kennedy’s vision in establishing the park, she said, “was to preserve our traditional way of life.’’
And Tuesday night, at a Park and Recreation Commission meeting, chairman Michael Seidewand criticized the National Seashore for what he called inadequate notice and a lack of public involvement on the project.
Long, the homeowner, argued that Price and his advisers are being inflexible despite what nature is telling them.
“No one is contesting that there is erosion, but it’s frustrating that since the decision was made in August, we’ve had 100 feet of sand build up in front of the most vulnerable structures,’’ Long said. “I’ve spent the better part of my 46 years going out there year-round.’’
Bill Hammatt, a Chatham lawyer who lost a beach cottage to the elements in 2009, agreed that an emergency does not exist. The National Seashore, he said, should have given residents an extra season to enjoy their cottages.
Hammatt, who has served as Chatham’s representative to the Seashore Advisory Commission for 20 years, said the “process fell apart’’ and the National Seashore’s relationship with the town has been damaged.
Hammatt said the affected beach residents, who use boats to reach their cottages, are being deprived of “an historical usage that’s been going on for over 100 years out there.’’
The attraction of the place “is very difficult to define,’’ Hammatt said. “It’s a way of life that my wife and I chose. We prefer that to going out for cocktails here in town.’’
When asked what can be done to block the order, he replied, “Not much. They’re in the process of tearing them down now.’’
Fishermen split on striped bass fishing ban
By Corey Kane, Patriot Ledger State House bureau
GateHouse, Feb 28, 2012
Massachusetts fishermen descended on the State House Tuesday to renew debate over a controversial proposal that would ban commercial fishing of striped bass, creating a rift between recreational and commercial anglers.
Driven by concerns of a dwindling population, Stripers Forever, a national conservation group, had initially pushed for game designation for the fish in 2010. Their proposal has featured a series of emotional debates over several legislative sessions.
“We understand that this is a politically contentious issue yet the welfare of the bass must come first or there will be nothing left to fight over,” Dean Clark, the organization’s representative told the Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture.
A basement hearing room was filled with men standing shoulder to shoulder, many wearing baseball caps and plaid shirts. Applause from the two factions followed the testimony of the both sides in a competitive show of support, despite objections from Sen. Marc Pacheo, D-Taunton, the committee’s chair.
A commercial boat captain from Marion was one of the first to testify, rejecting the notion that the species is dwindling, and saying the ban will threaten commercial fishers’ livelihoods.
“The sky isn’t falling and we are not the boogeyman,” Peter Kelly said to the committee.
Kelly was skeptical that the striped bass were declining, saying in an interview after his testimony, that measures of bass caught are done by phone surveys of recreational fisheries. Commercial fishermen have to report every fish caught, and, according to Kelly, their numbers have increased.
For commercial fishermen like Kelly, the striped bass is their most lucrative haul. Kelly said he averaged a gross $1,600 a day on striped bass, while one of his other popular fish, the fluke, only averaged $400 a day.
An oceanographer presented a different picture, using data from National Marine Fishery Service that showed a decline in total striped bass population. In 2006, a record high of 8.1 million fish were caught nationally, including those released, while in 2011, only 1.3 million were caught.
“When you see all these stats, whatever spin you hear today, they all point to a fishery in trouble,” Dr. David Ross told the committee. Ross said that every year from 2006 showed a steady decline. He conceded in testimony that 2006 was a record year, but said the 2011 numbers were less than half of the annual hauls in the 90s.
Commercial fishermen have several allies in the Legislature. Rep. Sarah Peake, D-Provincetown, and Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, both testified against the commercial ban. Peake was skeptical that the fish have declined, saying that lower catch numbers may be a result of the bass population migrating further from the shore. She said trawlers that kill the bass’s food source, an increased seal population on the Cape, and a warmer ocean could all contribute to a lower numbers in the fishing waters.
“It is appropriate that management and allocation measures are handled by the federal government,” Peake said in testimony. Peake sits on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, the regulator of the industry from Maine to Florida.
Members of the committee Sen. Robert Hedlund, R-Weymouth, and Sen. Pacheco both said they do not support the legislation, echoing Peake’s belief that it is a regional issue. Both said that one state banning commercial fishing would not help the species, as other Atlantic states would continue to commercially fish.
“I am very concerned about the vibrancy of the species,” Hedlund said, “but I don’t think it should be settled by the legislature.”
Missing jetties blamed for P'town erosion
By Mary Ann Bragg
February 23, 2012
PROVINCETOWN — Government officials and coastal experts will get together in early March to begin a conversation about the storm erosion issues at Herring Cove Beach, according to state Rep. Sarah Peake.
Over the winter, an old tarmac walkway and barrier wall along the Cape Cod National Seashore beach collapsed in at least four spots because of sand eroding underneath. As a result, Seashore officials have closed a pedestrian walkway in front of the bathhouse and more than one-third of the north lot parking spaces.
The beach is the most visited in the Seashore, with about 853,000 visitors in 2011, according to Seashore records, and town leaders are worried that the reputation of the beach may suffer because of the damage.
Peake brought up the idea of a meeting of all "stakeholders" about six weeks ago to Seashore Superintendent George Price, and a date is currently being settled on.
"We need to know what all the options are," Peake said on Wednesday.
The beach's south lot has about 350 parking spaces, and does not offer an ocean view. But the long and narrow north lot, with 208 spaces, allows drivers to pull into a space facing the open waters of Cape Cod Bay. It is a popular spot for tourists and residents to watch a sunset.
The Seashore's actions have contributed to the "mess" at the beach and the federal agency must fix it, Peake, a Democrat who lives in Provincetown, said in a Facebook posting this week.
The Seashore should reinstall stone jetties, known as groins, that once stabilized the beach, Peake said in an email to the Times on Tuesday, in response to a question about her Facebook post.
The issues at Herring Cove are "serious challenges," Seashore Deputy Superintendent Kathy Tevyaw said Wednesday in an email to the Times.
"Like most of the community, we would like to preserve the unique and special experiences one can only find at Herring Cove, including the rare opportunity to drive to the ocean's edge and take it all in," Tevyaw said.
The groins were removed at a time when Seashore officials wanted to allow sand to move southward along the beach to prevent a break in a barrier dune near Wood End Light, Peake said, basing her information on a past conversation with a Seashore official.
"Looks like it worked. … There is no longer a threat of a break at the south end, and the sand has migrated away from the northern end of the beach," Peake said in her email. "It's time to replace those groins that for years (had) successfully been in place keeping the beach healthy. Re-establishing the groins together with a little beach nourishment and we could all continue to enjoy Herring Cove as thousands have for over half a century."
Tevyaw and Price were not available on Wednesday for comment about the groins, why they were removed and whether they could be restored.
Copyright © Cape Cod Media Group, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Lawmakers' proposal to limit striped bass catch draws resistance
Taunton Daily Gazette,Feb 28, 2012
Commercial fishermen pleaded with lawmakers Tuesday not to interfere with striped bass catch limits, saying it is not the Legislature’s place to manage fisheries.
But others who run recreational fishing charter boats argued if state lawmakers do nothing, striped bass stocks will continue to dwindle and tourists who come to Massachusetts to fish in coastal communities will disappear, hurting local economies. The two sides spent nearly five hours trying to convince lawmakers of their opposing viewpoints during a packed hearing of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. The committee is chaired by Sen. Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton) and Rep. Anne Gobi (D-Spencer).
The commercial and recreational fishermen, charter boat captains, scientists, and seafood restaurateurs testified about the potential impacts of four bills aimed at restricting striped bass catches and declaring it a “game fish,” essentially prohibiting commercial fishing. Five other states have passed similar legislation declaring striped bass a game fish, including Maine, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.Recreational fishermen fell on both sides of the issue with some pushing for limits, while others argued restrictions unnecessarily pit one group of fishermen against another.
“There is a myth out there that the recreational fishing community is behind this bill,” said Patrick Paquette, from the Massachusetts Striped Bass Association. “To pit a commercial fisherman against a recreational fisherman . . . I would hope legislators would sit back and say this has to be the wrong thing to do. Please don’t take one group of extremists as being the voice of the recreational community, because they are not.” Capt. Michael Pierdinock, who runs charter boats on the South Shore, said he opposes the bills because since 1995 the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has done a good job managing and restoring the striped bass stock.
“It is the crown jewel example of fisheries management,” Pierdinock said.
Other recreational fishermen and charter boat captains said there is a real need for limits, arguing their livelihood is being impacted by a lack of fish. John Kaufman, who fishes off Martha’s Vineyard, said the numbers of striped bass have been in radical decline. “We have a problem. The commercial industry has a history of being blind in terms of the numbers,” Kaufman said. Capt. James Goodheart, who runs a charter boat for recreational fishers out of Newburyport, said his business depends on an abundance of striped bass being in the water. Goodheart said people who fish with him catch and release the bass, but they enjoy the sport of catching them. Without more fish, they will not come, he said, testifying in favor of catch limits.
Fishing tourists travel from all over the country, staying in local hotels, buying bait at area tackle shops and dining in Newburyport restaurants, Goodheart said. “There is an economy that wouldn’t be there without these fish,” he said.
Commercial fishermen said this is the third time in three years they were forced to defend themselves over striped bass fishing. In previous legislative sessions, similar bills never made it out of committee.
“We have done everything asked of us as a commercial fishery,” said Michael Abdow, a Chatham fisherman who fishes both commercially and runs a recreational charter.Abdow told legislators that the issue had become too political, and that they should stop considering striped bass catch limit legislation year after year “You have more important things to do than worry about fish and politics,” Abdow said. “This needs to stop now. Every fishery has its ups and downs. This fishery is regulated.”
Peter Kelly, a charter captain from Marion, said he has been fishing in Massachusetts waters for more than 45 years. He theorized that the warmer water in the past few years was driving more fish further off the coast. That is why recreational fishermen, who cannot afford to fuel boats to go further out, may be seeing less fish, he said. “As fuel keeps going up, recreational catches are going to keep going down,” Kelly said.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which regulates fisheries and has representatives from each East Coast state, allows Massachusetts fishermen to catch two million pounds of striped bass each year – split between recreational and commercial fishers. Commercial fishermen argued they do not catch more than their 1 million pound share. But backers of catch limits said striped bass are overharvested. David Ross, a scientist from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, said striped bass “is a fishery that needs protection,” and pointed to research that shows the numbers of pounds harvested by recreational fishers has decreased by almost 1 million pounds since 2006.
Along with the commercial fishing industry, other businesses would be hurt by catch limits, a group of local restaurant chefs said. Chefs referred to striped bass as a “superstar fish” that draws people from around the country into Massachusetts seafood restaurants. Jasper White, from the Summer Shack restaurants located in Cambridge and Boston, said “the chefs support anything that assists our small local fishermen and their families. It is not just about striped bass, it is about sustaining our fishing culture.”
Several legislators testified against the bills, saying they would hurt an already struggling industry.
Rep. Sarah Peake, a Provincetown Democrat, said she believes the issue is not a matter for the state Legislature to decide, but should be left to other agencies with federal authority.
“These agencies have control of allocations and quotas. They have teams of scientists; they have multi-million dollar budgets; and they are engaged in data gathering,” Peake said at the outset of the hearing. The state Legislature is not equipped to make decisions about a population of fish that swims from the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland to Maine, Peake said.
There are many reasons why some recreational fishermen may be catching less fish, she said, including a growing seal population that drives more fish further offshore. She also said recreational fishing is hampered by beaches being closed for longer periods every summer to protect the nesting spots of the piping plover birds.
“None of these reasons why fish aren’t caught off the back beaches have to do with our commercial fishermen,” Peake said.Peake said she represents more than 300 commercial fishermen who “care very much about conservation efforts.”“We need to work together to craft solutions so everybody is able to catch the fish that they want to catch,” Peake said.
Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr said it was a “dangerous path” to bring fishing management issues to the legislative process. Federal agencies are better suited to make decisions around allocation and conservation, he said. “If we truly care about conservation, perhaps we ought to look at the biological measures that impact the stock, rather than who is on the other end of the reel,” he said. Tarr said striped bass fishing began in Massachusetts in the 1600s.
“I hope it won’t end on our watch,” he added.
The bills are (S 337), sponsored by Sen. Stephen Brewer (D-Barre); (S 392), sponsored by Sen. James Timilty (D-Walpole); (H 260) sponsored by Rep. Thomas Stanley (D-Waltham), and (H 1145) sponsored by former Rep. Vincent Pedone.
Congressmen Go To Bat For Camps – Feb. 28, 2012
by Alan Pollock
CHATHAM — Even as a small team of government officials toured North Beach Island Monday to finalize their plans to raze five federally owned camps there, lawmakers were exerting new political pressure to delay the demolition. Chatham's entire Washington delegation, Rep. William Keating and Senators John Kerry and Scott Brown, are working to convince the secretary of the interior to allow more time for public discussion before the camps are removed.
Rep. Keating, D–10th District, who was in Provincetown on other business Monday, received an impromptu briefing on the camps from State Rep. Sarah Peake, D–Provincetown, Chatham Selectman Sean Summers and from Cape Cod National Seashore Advisory Commission member Mary Jo Avellar of Provincetown. As a result, Keating has scheduled a meeting Wednesday afternoon, after The Chronicle's press time, with a staffer from the office of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
Keating said he feels it is important for local officials to feel like they've had a fair hearing on the issues. “I'm going to try to see if that can be done,” he said. Keating said he would like to have the camp occupancy permits renewed for a year, as had been previously recommended by the Cape Cod National Seashore Advisory Commission.
Summers said Peake was able to apprize Kerry of the situation, and the senator took an opportunity Tuesday to speak with Salazar during a conference call on a different topic. “He was scheduled to talk about polar bears,” Summers said with a chuckle. In a statement issued late in the day Tuesday, Kerry said he asked Salazar to support a one-year delay.
“Our goal here is to ensure this process is thorough and open and we’re not rushing to any hasty decisions that could have irreversible consequences,” Kerry said. “We’re approaching the 300th anniversary of Chatham, and if the folks in Massachusetts need more time to determine the historic value of the seashore, we owe it to this process and to the historic beauty of the Cape to delay any demolition plans until we’re absolutely certain we’ve reached a fair and thoughtful decision.”
Also on Tuesday, Senator Scott Brown sent a letter to Secretary Salazar asking him to direct the National Park Service to delay the demolition of the camps and to “engage in meaningful and direct outreach with the Chatham community.” Brown said residents feel their concerns have not been given due consideration. “Currently, the camps are not in danger of washing away and the residents have requested more time to discuss the impact of the demolition on the community,” he wrote. “Some of the residents' current concerns include the route that has been proposed, the monitoring of the work, the short-term and long-term effects, and the time period of when demolition will occur.”
With final preparations underway for the removal of the camps, any decisions will need to be made very quickly. Summers praised Peake for facilitating the meetings on short notice. “I don't have a whole lot of hope, but I have some,” he said.
The five federally owned camps have been padlocked since January, after Cape Cod National Seashore Superintendent George Price, Jr., ordered the properties vacated when the families' special use permits expired on Dec. 31. Price originally set an Oct. 21 deadline, but rescinded the order after the state's historic preservation officer opined that the camps might be historic, and referred the matter to the Keeper for the National Register of Historic Places for a ruling on the buildings' eligibility for listing on the Register. However, in November the Keeper ruled that the camps were not eligible, because they were completely rebuilt in 1992.
Price has cited continuing erosion of the barrier island, which he said poses an immediate threat to at least three of the camps. The Seashore has a responsibility to remove the camps before they are destroyed, and it makes sense to do so all at once, both logistically and financially, Price has said. Local officials, including selectmen and the town's North Beach advisory committee, dispute Price's assertions that the island is eroding at a rapid pace, and the Cape Cod National Seashore Advisory Commission voted to delay the demolition by a year, a recommendation Price rejected.
Last week, Price said that the National Seashore has fulfilled its obligations under the National Historic Preservation Act, and that demolition would take place before April 1. The cost of the demolition, between $355,000 and $385,000, is higher than federal officials first projected. While the six privately owned camps on the island are not under the demolition order, the owners of those properties have expressed concerns that the heavy equipment will damage their land and destabilize the dunes on the island, accelerating erosion.
On Tuesday, the Chatham board of selectmen came within one vote of issuing a no trespass order designed to block demolition equipment from reaching the camps (see related story.).
Peake said that, as a state lawmaker, she has little influence over the federal project, but she has nonetheless been outspoken with National Seashore officials. “My ask to them has been simple and straightforward. One is, slow down. There is no harm that I can see that is going to come from leaving the beach camps up,” she said. Secondly, the decision-making process has lacked openness and transparency, Peake said. While no one can guess the outcome of the dispute, “what I object to is jumping to the last chapter of the book,” she said.
Summers said the argument is not about the five families who held camp permits, but about “a town's sovereign rights” to control certain activities within its boundaries. “My problem all along has been the fact that the federal government, through the Seashore, has willfully and knowingly decided to ignore facts,” he said. Chatham is not the only town that feels its decisions are being trumped by the National Seashore, Summers said. Provincetown officials are also engaged in a dispute with the park over the replacement of the parking lot at Herring Cove Beach.
“This is a regional problem, and we would like to not be ignored in the future,” he said.
Tim Wood contributed to this story.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:October 24, 2011
CONTACT:Paul J. Sacco, 617-720-1776
REP. PEAKE LAUDED AS FRIEND TO MASSACHUSETTS TOURISM
SOUTH YARMOUTH:State Representative Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown) was commended today by the Massachusetts Lodging Association for her efforts to reach out to the lodging and tourism industry.
Rep. Peake joined nearly 35 hoteliers and tourism vendors from the Cape and Islands at an informative luncheon at the Red Jacket Resort in South Yarmouth. The forum gave residents from the region an opportunity to sit down with the area’s legislators to discuss issues of importance to the lodging industry.
“We are committed to helping the third-largest employer in the Commonwealth, tourism, stay strong, especially during these difficult economic times,” said Paul J. Sacco, President and CEO of the Massachusetts Lodging Association (MLA), which hosted the event. “This type of forum helps the lodging industry forge strong lines of communication and partnership with our state legislators.”
The group of industry representatives and legislators shared a candid discussion on such important issues as tourism marketing, economic development and jobs. Rep. Peake was recognized by the group as someone who understands and appreciates the significance of the industry for the region.
“The MLA is very appreciative of Rep. Peake’s willingness to take time out of her busy schedule to take part in this meeting,” said Serge Denis, MLA Government Affairs Committee Chair. “She is clearly a friend to the lodging and tourism industry.”
Brewster split by redistricting bill
By Rich Eldred
Posted Nov 04, 2011
BREWSTER – Massachusetts is losing a seat nationally but soon Brewster will go from having one state representative (Cleon Turner of Dennis of the First Barnstable District) to two.
The town isn’t growing but the state is redistricting. The redistricting plan passed Tuesday splits off Brewster’s third precinct, (East Brewster) and adds it to Barnstable’s fourth district, now represented by Sarah Peake of Provincetown. The fourth district stretches from Harwich to Provincetown. Turner’s district would shift westward, retaining Brewster’s first and second precincts, and adding a precinct in north Barnstable and Precinct 3 in Yarmouth. Turner currently represents all of Dennis and four of seven precincts in Yarmouth in addition to Brewster.
“The town of Brewster will get the same attention it’s always gotten,” Turner promised. “And with Sarah Peake as an additional representative she and I will be working together and probably do much better.”
The representative for Barnstable 4 is in agreement.
“I’m honored to have Precinct 3 in Brewster join the 4th Barnstable District. I know working with Cleon Turner they’ll be fully and ably represented. I’m looking forward to getting to know the people in the district and working with the board of selectmen on issues like wastewater, Nauset Regional School District and economic development and tourism,” Peake declared.
Town officials had been concerned about splitting representation.
“My concern is long range,” Selectman Ed Lewis opined. “When you look at a small town like Brewster and divide it up, the town is going to suffer. Cleon and Sarah work very well together and the town is in good hands but what about the future? If you divide up the town, you may not be as important to one person as you should be. Talk to Bourne, which is divided by three.”
Lewis recalled that when Tom George, a Republican, represented Brewster, the town got much less attention, in his opinion.
“The difference in Cleon and Tom George as far as Brewster is night and day,” he said.
But Turner, a Democrat, said that Cape Republicans and Democrats have worked very well together on regional issues.
“And they continue to do so,” Turner said. “The entire Cape benefits from all the representatives.”
“I always liked the idea of one representative representing the whole town,” reflected Selectman James Foley. “I think Sarah has done a great job, as has Cleon Turner. We’ve worked with Sarah Peake on a number of issues involving Nauset High School and state aid. She is the chairman of the tourism committee. So I think she’ll step in seamlessly.”
“I think when the idea was proposed some members (of the board) had concerns but I never thought that way,” noted selectmen chairman Peter Norton. “I like to think of it as having double the representation. I support the idea.”
Norton added that both Turner and Peake, along with state Sen. Dan Wolf, would be invited to meet with the board Nov. 21.
Selectman Dan Rabold was another who had some concerns.
“We’ll live with it,” Rabold said. “I did go to the hearing in August and many people spoke out about keeping the town whole. I’m a little disgusted they didn’t try to come up with alternatives. I feel badly for all the Brewster people who took time out to go have an opinion.”
But Rabold conceded that due to Cape Cod’s geography there weren’t many alternatives. The 4th Barnstable District needed to add people and they would come from either Dennis or Brewster.
“There was no place to go,” he admitted.
Brewster’s third precinct will fit right in to Barnstable 4.
“I think they share so much in common with the other towns, the regional school district, the watershed,” Peake said. “As an outdoor person I’m looking forward to having Nickerson State Park in the district.”
And the selectmen will welcome her in three weeks.
“One (representative) is easier to keep up with,” Foley said. “But we’re not losing any power up on Beacon Hill.”
Turner has shared the town of Yarmouth with Rep. Demetrius Atsalis so he has experience sharing representative duties.
“The people in Precinct 3 (in Yarmouth) probably know me fairly well,” he reflected. “I look at it as representing the entire town of Yarmouth even though I only had four of seven precincts. Demetrius and I work well together. I’ve never had a relationship with the town of Barnstable so that’s something I’ll have to work on.”
Copyright 2011 The Cape Codder. Some rights reserved