, Newburyport, MA


December 13, 2012

Lubchenco departure fuels hope for change in fishing rules

Departure fuels hope for change in fishing rules


The White House did not respond to questions about the impetus for her decision to resign.

Lubchenco’s imperious manner — ignoring long letters on fisheries policy from Congressman Barney Frank, breaking numerous commitments to U.S. Sen. John Kerry to testify before the Senate Commerce Committee — as well as her pivotal role at the center of an antifishing conservation movement and her relentless promotion of investor-ready catch shares once in office all contributed to the widespread feeling in Congress and along the docks that Lubchenco was no friend of the fishermen, who had over the centuries maintained a business model emphasizing small scale and local control.

Democratic Congressmen Frank and John Tierney were joined by Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and Republican Congressman Walter Jones of North Carolina in declaring Lubchenco a failed leader whose continued presence at NOAA barred progress in rebuilding industry trust in government. Alone in the delegation, Kerry maintained a nuanced aggravation with Lubchenco, as was clear in his statement Wednesday.

“This is a really critical time for our fishermen’s economic situation, and I hope it’ll also be the moment when we begin a new era for our fishing communities in terms of their relationships and their dealing with NOAA,” he said in an email. “The next NOAA administrator can set a tone on Day One by proactively offering a seat at the table for our fishermen in the decision-making ... .”

“Administrator Lubchenco has implemented job-killing policies that have decimated the Massachusetts fishing fleet,” said Brown, who was defeated in November by Democrat Elizabeth Warren. Brown and Warren agreed that the catch share policy and Lubchenco’s support for discredited law enforcers were corrosive to trust.

“Those failed policies should go out the door along with Administrator Lubchenco,” said Brown, who added he had urged the appointment of a successor capable of ending “this sad chapter of mismanagement, accountability, and hostility to American fishing communities.”

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