WASHINGTON (Saving Seafood) January 3, 2013 - Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank leaves office today after 32 years in Congress. In his last Saving Seafood interview as a sitting member of Congress, Mr. Frank criticized the policies of some environmental groups as overly rigid, urged lawmakers to listen to fishermen and called for eliminating the ten-year stock rebuilding requirement in the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
Congressman Frank, a longtime environmental champion with a 95% voting record rating from the League of Conservation Voters, told Saving Seafood's Bob Vanasse, "I think Democrats have to reexamine the automatic commitment many of us have to whatever the environmentalists say." "Some of my Democratic colleagues have to be persuaded to look more skeptically at the environmentalists," said Frank, 72, from his office on Capitol Hill.
Mr. Frank has been an ally of commercial fishermen since redistricting gave him representation of the Massachusetts south coast seaports of New Bedford and Fairhaven in 1993.
He was active in commercial fishing issues from early on, opposing scallop "meat count" enforcement methods in the 1990s. Under the old system, enforcement officers measured the number of scallops in a pound, frequently resulting in discrepancies when estimates made with analog scales on rolling vessels at sea were checked using digital scales on land.
As he departs office, Frank eyes the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act - specifically the so-called "ten-year rebuilding" provision, which has resulted in drastic cuts to fishing quotas in the Northeast.