CCTC comments on proposal to move NOAA Fisheries Center from Woods Hole to New Bedford

A recent article in South Coast Today cited Congressman Joe Kennedy’s endorsement to move the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center from Woods Hole to New Bedford. The CCTC Infrastructure Committee met in July to discuss and recommended to the CCTC Board of Directors to advocate for keeping the Center in Woods Hole. The Board approved and the following letter was sent to Congressman Bill Keating’s office, with a copy to Congressman Kennedy.

July 31, 2020
Congressman Bill Keating
2351 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Re:   NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center

Dear Congressman Keating,

I am writing on behalf of the Cape Cod Technology Council, Inc. (“CCTC”) to request your support in keeping the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole. The CCTC has become aware of a proposal by Congressman Kennedy to transfer the Center from Woods Hole to New Bedford. The CCTC believes such a transfer would impair the effectiveness of the Center and adversely affect our regional economy. Accordingly, the CCTC opposes the transfer.

Founded in 1996, the CCTC is a membership based non-profit organization whose mission is to promote technology, education, and economic development on Cape Cod, the Islands, and Southeastern Massachusetts. Our membership includes local Cape, Islands, and Southeastern Massachusetts businesses, technology innovators, educational organizations, government entities, working professionals, and community leaders.

It is difficult to imagine a more ideal location for conducting marine science than Woods Hole. Woods Hole is home to some of the premier marine science institutions in the world, including the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Marine Biological Laboratory of Woods Hole, and the Woods Hole Research Center. Locating the Center in Woods Hole enables a synergy between these institutions that would be lost if the Center were transferred to New Bedford.  Indeed, the 2016 Business Case Analysis conducted by NOAA concluded that the Center should stay in Woods Hole because the location is an “indispensable facility” for meeting the Center’s needs.

Transferring the Center to New Bedford will have significant adverse economic consequences for the local economy. A direct impact will be the loss of hundreds of professional jobs which will further disrupt our already disrupted economy. There is also a potential indirect impact. It is well-recognized that an essential component of an entrepreneurial ecosystem is academic institutions generating intellectual property for commercialization, such as MIT and Harvard in Cambridge. In our region, that role is fulfilled by the marine science community in Woods Hole. Intellectual property developed in Woods Hole has been commercialized by businesses such as Hydroid to the economic benefit of the region and the Commonwealth as a whole. The CCTC is concerned that a transfer of the Center to New Bedford would interfere with this important driver of economic development.

We understand that Congressman Kennedy believes that the Center would benefit from contact with the fishing industry in New Bedford.  However, there is no need to move the Center to New Bedford to have contact with the fishing industry. There is a robust and well-organized fishing community on Cape Cod.

The CCTC supports the efforts of the Congressional delegation to encourage the development of marine science in the Commonwealth. We believe that effort is not well served by moving important facilities from one community to another rather attracting new facilities to the Commonwealth.

CCTC appreciates your consideration of our views. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Jennifer Reid, President

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