Anyway, it was a heck of a piece, that column by Glynn, which appeared Sunday, Aug. 23, under the headline, “Boston’s future depends on a thriving seafood industry,” for it contained a much-needed reminder that new apartment buildings, new office towers, and trendy new bars and restaurants are not the only key ingredients for a city striving for vibrancy in the 21st century.“Long before the biotech firms, cool restaurants, and law firms made a home there (the South Boston Waterfront), seafood companies were doing business in that part of town. It is important that there be room for the industry going forward,” wrote Glynn, a Ph.D. from Brandeis, a former general manager of the MBTA in the Governor Dukakis administration, a former President Clinton administration labor official, and a former chief operating officer of Partners Health Care. (If you can find a better resume, blog it.)
The only state where the value of caught fish exceeds that of Massachusetts is Alaska, Glynn pointed out.While the catches in New Bedford and Gloucester consistently exceed Boston’s, Glynn trumpeted the “rare ingredients” that position Boston as an “epicenter of the state’s seafood processing industry.” Those would be its “dockside access to fishing boats and seafood processors, an international airport, the interstate highway system, and a global shipping container facility.”
The annual Port of Boston fish catches have grown – “despite federal policy restrictions” -- by 80% in recent years, according to Glynn; and, today, some 58 seafood businesses are located within a 1.25-mile radius of South Boston.As one who performs work for a great Massachusetts-based non-profit, Fishing Partnership Support Services, a kind of human resources agency for commercial fishermen, I was nodding vigorously as Glynn informed Globe readers that:
(a) the Boston Fish Pier remains the very active home of the city’s working fishing fleet, with 21 vessels currently berthed there, and(b) six fishing boat owners/operators have their names on the waiting list for a Boston Fish Pier berth.
Commercial fishing is far from dead in Boston and the other ports of the Bay State, although fishermen are, for the most part, experiencing hard times because of federal limits on days they can fish, competition from cheaper, less-regulated imported seafood, the high fixed costs of owning and running a fishing boat, (fuel, maintenance, repairs, insurance, etc.), and the high cost of living in Massachusetts.If we want to keep a homegrown fishing industry, a distinctive feature of Massachusetts since the 17th century, and if we want local, independent fishermen catching local fish 10 or 20 years from now, we have to adhere to policies that help the commercial fishermen of Massachusetts and their families.
If you haven’t read Tom Glynn’s “Boston’s-future-depends” column, please do so. It may be found at:https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2015/08/22/boston-future-depends-thriving-seafood-industry/6plFFnEZzG6XWOVUgaSU7L/story.html
…and for information on Fishing Partnership Support Services, please go to: