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letters | FISHING CONCERNS

Use disaster relief to preserve healthy food source

Fishing boats docked in New Bedford Harbor near the schooner Lady Maryland.

JOHN TLUMACKI/GLOBE STAFF/FILE 2012

Fishing boats docked in New Bedford Harbor near the schooner Lady Maryland.

The Globe is right: New England fishermen need disaster relief, and that relief needs to focus on the long-term prospects for the families and communities that depend on fish for their livelihood (“Fishing ports should use disaster funds for new jobs,” Editorial, Sept. 24).

But disaster relief needs to recognize that preserving the fishery is about more than jobs or even a traditional way of life. It is also about preserving a crucial, healthy food source for all of us.

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The $100 million the federal government is considering for the industry would go a long way for research on fish stocks, to determine root causes of declines, to identify plentiful fish stocks that can replace more scarce fish, and for investments in better gear and monitoring to create a more selective fishery.

Let’s use this aid to lay the foundation for a healthier fishing industry, and a continued healthy food source.

Johanna Thomas

Environmental

Defense Fund

Boston

The writer is Pacific Region director and senior adviser to New England and Mid-Atlantic regions.

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