The 8-week Sumner Tunnel closure starts today. State transportation officials expect major impacts through Aug. 31. | Travel Mitigation Options
9:30 a.m. | A sendoff for 16 wildland firefighters headed to assist with Quebec wildfires includes DCR Commissioner Brian Arrigo and Fish and Game Commissioner Tom O'Shea. | DCR Bureau of Forestry and Fire Control Headquarters, 841 Lowell St., Carlisle
10 a.m. | Boston Mayor Michelle Wu attends the ribbon-cutting ceremony to reopen Jeep Jones Park. | Roxbury Street, Roxbury
Noon | Boston Mayor Michelle Wu attends the Cape Verdean flag-raising ceremony. | City Hall Plaza, Boston
Scallops are one of the few success stories in fishery management in the Northeast. But after a government survey ship was taken offline and with growing threats from climate change and offshore wind development, experts say more attention is needed.
Scallops are a major driver of the local and national seafood economy — with most of the shellfish coming in through docks in New Bedford. But 2023 landings are projected at $398 million – far less than $670 million that 43 million pounds landed fetched in 2021.
“We need to pay attention now because if things do hit the fan, by the time they go missing from dinner plates, it will be too late,” said marine engineer Ronald Smolowitz of the Coonamessett Farm Foundation.
Scallops are not currently overfished and the stock is healthy, according to NOAA. But annual hauls have been coasting down, according to the New England Fishery Management Council. While scallop biomass naturally fluctuates, Smolowitz said there are warning signs the crop could continue to decline. Retail prices are dropping too, but economists say it’s a natural stabilization after record-high inflation and post-pandemic supply chain issues sent costs soaring.
Researchers suspect warming waters and ocean acidification play a role in weakening scallop shells. Others blame an influx of predators that are eating larval scallops before their shells have a chance to harden. Threats from offshore wind farms — like the ones Gov. Maura Healey is championing — are still being studied.
Of a dozen bills before the Legislature this session that references offshore wind development, just three focus on fishery management. A pair of bills by Kingston Rep. Kathleen LaNatra and Gloucester Sen. Bruce Tarr would create a commercial fisheries offshore wind mitigation fund. Sen. Julian Cyr has a proposal to create a commission to further study the effects of ocean acidification.
Smolowitz said the government needs to do more to support research into the continued management of the changing scallop fishery, which touts an economic impact of more than $500 million annually.
Earlier this month, the federal government’s sole sea scallop survey vessel was docked for the season and all surveys were canceled due to mechanical failures. The slack on surveying will be picked up by nonprofits like the one Smolowitz runs, but he said it’s “valuable time and resources” that will be taken away from research missions.
Grants that support the surveys and research missions are funded through a percentage of the total annual scallop catch. Smolowitz thinks there are problems with tying fishery management to catch profits.
“I think the government needs to step up to the plate,” said Smolowitz. “This fishery is one the most one of the most valuable in the United States. They’re doing the scallop industry on the cheap.”
A NOAA Fisheries spokeswoman told MASSterList that the agency is “ looking at developing alternative platforms for the future to ensure we have an alternative when there is a problem.”
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Keller @ Large
On the heels of Independence Day, WBZ political analyst Jon Keller urges Americans to consider celebrating something he calls “Outdependence Day” — taking a break from over-dependence on government, markets and technology.
Left turn: Democratic Socialists of America move to expel Cambridge Rep. Mike Connolly
One of Beacon Hill’s most progressive representatives might not be left enough to keep his endorsement from the Democratic Socialists of America. A group of 16 members from the Boston chapter have moved to expel Cambridge Rep. Mike Conolly, who they “found to be in substantial disagreement with the principles or policies of DSA.”
Connolly has rejected the rebuke that he says “suggests our role is only to espouse ideas, not to deliver results.”
The motion publicized Monday cites ”several years” of alleged evidence Connolly has been in “substantial disagreement with the principles of DSA in his public statements, endorsements, and actions.” On the list is Connolly’s endorsement of politicians like Gov. Maura Healey, Sen. Lydia Edwards and House Speaker Ronald Mariano, support for policies like Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s “milquetoast version” of rent control and promotion of the British royal family’s greenwashing junket to Somerville.
Connolly, who the DSA endorsed in his inaugural 2016 run, said in a statement “ I hope members of Boston DSA will consider that we socialists make up a tiny fraction of the state legislature, and therefore we must work with people outside this group if we want to deliver on our values.”
Traffic nightmare: Sumner Tunnel closure starts today
Repairs to the 90-year-old Sumner Tunnel carrying traffic from East Boston into the city mainland start today, marking the beginning of an 8-week total closure of the artery that’s bound to snarl traffic and delay commutes. Daniel Kool of The Boston Globe has some ideas for commuters looking to avoid congestion.
Green Line gets red light as MBTA shutters new tracks for 6 weeks
State officials are sounding the alarm over a 6-week closure of the T’s new Green Line tracks from Leechmere to Union Square, reports Rick Sobey for The Boston Herald. Green Line service between Lechmere and Union Square stations will halt for 42 days from July 18 to Aug. 28 for repair work on the Route 28 Squires Bridge. Reps Mike Connolly, Christine Barber and Erika Uyterhoeven on Monday wrote a letter to MassDOT and the MBTA lamenting yet another travel nightmare for the region.
Harvard’s legacy admissions see challenge in wake of affirmative action ruiing
Days after the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in a ruling barring race-conscious college admissions, three civil rights groups filed a complaint against Harvard. The complaint alleges the practice of “legacy” admissions discriminates against students of color by giving an unfair boost to the mostly white children of alumni, reports the Associated Press. The groups say the practice violates a federal law banning race discrimination for programs that receive federal funds, as virtually all U.S. colleges and universities do.
Driver’s licenses open to undocumented immigrants
Driver’s license applications are now open to undocumented immigrants living in Massachusetts, reports Beth Germano for CBS Boston. The RMV has been bracing for a massive influx of applicants. Appointments are booked through July with an anticipated 1,000 more customers a day at locations just in the first six months.
Ex-Globe president who was fired says he’s owed $12 million, files suit
The former president of Boston Globe Media Partners who says his 2020 termination violated his contract, is suing the newspaper company for $12 million in lost wages, commissions and severance he thinks he’s owed — times three, according to scoop from Universal Hub. Vinay Mehra, a former top dog at Politico and GBH, takes issue with his termination letter alleging “fraud, misappropriate, embezzlement or acts of similar dishonesty.” Mehra was hired to help return the Globe to profitability — something the suit says he delivered on.
Teen journalists into transphobia trigger Amherst middle school shakeup
An investigation into anti-trans behavior by students and staff at an Amherst middle school caused a district shakeup, reports The Boston Goble. The account of a transphobic and homophobic culture is one of several that have come to light through the work of student journalists Amherst Regional High School and their journalism teacher and newspaper adviser. In May, they published an exposé in the online student newspaper, The Graphic.
Mintz attorney, Boston courtroom ‘legend’ Bob Popeo dies
R. Robert Popeo, described as “a legend in Boston courtrooms,” attorney of choice for high-profile clients includig then-state Rep. Vincent Piro, died Monday at the age of 85, reports Bryan Marquard for The Boston Globe. The longtime chairman of the firm Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky famously secured an acquittal for Piro — who had been recorded asking to be paid $5,000 to “grease a few guys” — arguing entrapment.
Car crash ends in stitches for son, court summons for allegedly unlicensed Boston City Councilor
Boston City Councilor Kendra Lara is due in West Roxbury court after a car crash in which she reportedly was driving an unregistered, uninsured car with a revoked license and expired inspection sticker, reports Alexi Cohan for GBH. Lara told police the Friday afternoon crash in Jamaica Plain happened when she swerved around another car, causing her to crash into a front porch. Lara was uninjured, but her son was taken to the hospital for stitches.
Lawrence police chief agrees to retire amid investigation, gets $750,000 buyout
The Lawrence police chief has agreed to retire amid an ongoing investigation involving the department he ran, effective June 30, reports Tom Dugan of The Valley Patriot. Chief Roy Vasque will be paid roughly $780,000 including about $300,000 in sick and vacation time accrued over his 30 plus years of service on the force. Vasque has been in administrative leave since January but it’s unknown if his retirement is related.
Medication abortion program launches on Cape Cod
Abortion access can be difficult to access for those living in rural areas — even in Massachusetts, which has some of the least-restrictive politicies in the nation. A new medication abortion program through Health Imperatives with clinics in Brockton, Plymouth, Wareham, New Bedford, Hyannis, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, seeks to change that, reports Meghan Smith for GBH. The program is funded in part through a $700,000 state grant.
Massachusetts firefighter who battled Canada blazes recounts experience
Air quality in Massachusetts is mostly back to normal, but roughly 70 wildfires are still blazing in Canada, report Lisa Mullins and Lynn Jolicoeur for WBUR. With roughly 70 blazes still burning, firefighters from 10 countries — including Massachusetts — have been called in to help. One local firefighter recounts his experience. On Wednesday, the state will send off another 16 firefighters.
New normal: End of pandemic measures means patchwork of options for voters
As cities across the state prepare for their fall elections, voters will face a patchwork of options for casting their ballots now that pandemic-era mandates about early and mail-in voting have ended. MassLive’s Jeannette DeForge reports many cities are rolling back expanded voting options because of the money and time they consume.
Westfield State says it, too, turned down chance to house migrants in dorm
Officials at Westfield State University say they turned down an offer from state officials to house migrants in one of their dormitories. The school acknowledged the offer in response to a public inquiry, Amy Porter reports via MassLive. In May, the Mass. College of Liberal Arts in North Adams announced it had backed out of a plan to house migrants in a vacant dorm, saying it wanted the space available in case enrollment rebounds.
Nantucket property sets island sales price record
A waterfront compound in Monomoy has set a new record high sale price for a single residential property on Nantucket. At $38.1 million, the oceanfront spread edged out a sale from last year to set the new mark but might also represent something of a bargain for the buyer: When it was first listed, the property’s price tag was $56 million.