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WPRO Brings Debate Series to RIC 

WPRO anchor Tara Granahan moderated the debate. (From left: Rep. Joseph McNamara and Tom Kutcher, Narragansett baykeeper for Save The Bay.)

WPRO anchor Tara Granahan moderated the debate. (From left: Rep. Joseph McNamara and Tom Kutcher, Narragansett baykeeper for Save The Bay.)

 

WPRO went “fishing for answers” as to where the perfect compromise between science, government regulation and fishermen freedom lies during a debate held at Rhode Island College.

The debate was the third in WPRO’s yearlong series that focuses on local issues. The debate was broadcast and streamed live on WPRO’s website, and will remain online and become the centerpiece of a WPRO special report scheduled to air during the WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti the week of Aug. 5.

That multi-tiered format is part of the radio’s stations new design for delivering community news.

WPRO anchor and producer Tara Granahan moderated a panel of Rhode Island fishing industry experts during the debate. Participating were Rep. Joseph McNamara; Tina Jackson, president of the American Alliance of Fishermen and their Communities; Rich Fuka, president of the Rhode Island Fishermen’s Alliance; and Tom Kutcher, Narragansett baykeeper for Save The Bay.

Discussion focused on Rep. McNamara’s (D-Warwick)’s failed attempt to legally name Rhode Island style calamari the state’s appetizer when the state senate adjourned without voting on his bill in early July, how to best determine what fish species are being overfished and whether the government, state and federal, or fishermen’s groups should be given more control over regulating which species fishermen are allowed to catch and in what quantities.

There was plenty of back-and-forth on some discussion topics but the panelists agreed on some issues, including that Rhode Island steamers are far superior to Maine steamers and that is a frustration to not see more of them in local supermarkets. Kutcher said steamers are easily overfished because they don’t migrate and there is a misbalance between supply and demand in the state.

Previous WPRO community debates have focused on the competition between Providence restaurants and food truck owners, and immigration.