Equal Protection for Nantucket's State Waters
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I support the request of the town of Nantucket to have protection within their 3 miles of state waters from mobile gear (sea clammers, draggers & large sea scallopers) from May 1 to October 31. The vast majority of Massachusetts coastal communities already have this protection with seasonal closures and Nantucket deserves the same for its near-coastal marine environment and habitat.
Nantucket's economy depends on seasonal tourism and our pristine marine habitat and recreational fishing plays a important role in this. But the recent increase in commercial fishing activity with small mesh gear (with its unacceptable by-catch rate of 35%) in our near-coastal state waters is harming this habitat and effecting those that visit the island. These waters are historical migratory corridors of spawning forage fish and predator fish, and the increased fishing pressure we're seeing correlates with the decreasing marine life and the degradation of marine habitat Nantucket has experienced.
Please give Nantucket's waters the same protection most of state benefits from and help us protect our marine habitat.
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