From the Moderator – Richard Gaines

 

photo credit Jim Kendall

photo credit Jim Kendall

Richard Gaines, Staff Reporter, Gloucester Daily Times

For years, we found his byline under the headline of every major fishery article that we read at the Gloucester Daily Times.  It told us to read on for the truth and an unbiased perspective that a great journalist presents regarding our livelihoods.

Richard’s articles provided the information to the public of the complexities that made up the convoluted issues surrounding the stories of the New England ground fishery — something that was just about impossible.

Some of the articles would leave the public confused, but industry insiders knew exactly what he was bringing up.  At times, these controversial to insider articles would erupt, causing some noses to get out of joint, generating lively, pointed, and sometimes fierce debate.

Those were my favorites, and I know what Richard wrote was on the money, even though some would disagree, of course.

To those people I say, some of these issues will be raised again, because there has been no closure.

There’s a lot of unfinished business to be settled, and our literary warrior, Richard Gaines, forever rides with many of us in our hearts and minds. Many of us that will attempt to keep those issues alive.

There are some that won’t share in our feelings regarding our beloved friend and beacon of justice for the small boat fishermen, and for fishermen in general, and we understand this.

ENGO’s and the “too big to fail” fishing conglomerates and even the bureaucracy of NOAA/NMFS, that includes OLE/OGC, may be breathing sighs of relief, or are even content to know that Richard Gaines won’t be watchdogging them.

While such agenda bound groups might find temporary relief in Richard’s passing, his crossing the bar merely reaffirms to us that we must each continue the struggles that are easier to walk away from than to stand and fight back.  To those bad players, we’ll steadfastly say, “As long as we draw a breath of existence, let it be known that our loss will not be your gain.”

I also realize that many who do understand what I’m trying to say are battle weary. For many, it’s been a decade’s long continuous fight, but it is a worthy one.

Richard Gaines created a standard that we all now expect in the esoteric arena of fishery journalism; but sadly, there is no one individual to carry on the legacy he left for us.  During this time of awakening to this cruel reality the question becomes, “How do we continue Richard’s work that still demands greater accountability to the resource and the public?”

We must find the way. Richard would want us to; and his bright beacon will forever guide us to that home harbor where truth and conscience tie up to the dock alongside integrity and grit.