Newburyport Daily News
---- — The Statehouse bill aimed at better marketing the local seafood industry filed by state Senate Minority leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, would create an entirely new function for the state’s Division of Marine Fisheries.
Expanding government’s hand into private industry services like marketing and other operations is a step that can send chills up the spines of business owners and consumers alike.
However, this is a measure that can provide credible and needed help to a fishing industry still caught in the grips of a federal regulatory stranglehold that has already spurred a recognized “economic disaster” and essentially collapsed the once-proud local fleet, whose fishermen and business owners are selling their boats in the face of bankruptcy and foreclosures.
The bill calls for the establishment of a Massachusetts Seafood Marketing Program within the state’s Division of Marine Fisheries.
That program’s goals would include boosting awareness of seafood’s health benefits, creating name recognition and consumer demand for Massachusetts-caught seafood products, developing educational tools and strategies to bolster consumer confidence, and to identify funding sources to increase outreach promoting the industry.
For a prominent Bay State industry in crisis, those are worthwhile goals, and deserving of full legislative support.