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Fishermen Shocked by Rejection

Massachusetts fishermen are reeling today from the federal government's decision to reject the state's appeal for financial assistance.

Governor Deval Patrick in February had asked for a "fisheries resource disaster" declaration. He argued that rules passed last year to protect ground fish stocks reduced the number of days at sea dramatically, costing the industry $22 million in Massachusetts.

Yesterday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration denied requests from the Bay State, Rhode Island, and Maine.

Sam Rauch, Deputy Director of the NOAA Fisheries Service, says the economic impact is not significant enough to call a disaster, "It is not so Draconian that there has to cease to be an industry. There has to be a significant reduction so the industry can be said to have failed. In this case, the industry continues and it continues at a less profitable rate."

For reaction to this decision, WBUR's Bob Oakes turns to Vito Calomo. He's a third generation fisherman in Gloucester, and Executive Director of the Massachusetts Fisheries Recovery Commission.

This program aired on October 23, 2007. The audio for this program is not available.

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