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Industry mourns New England fishing journalist

The recreational fishing industry is mourning award-winning New England journalist Richard Gaines, who died Sunday afternoon outside his home in Gloucester, Mass. He was 69.

Gaines, who covered the region for more than four decades, with at least 10 years spent at the Gloucester Daily Times, was found dead in the swimming pool behind his home, the victim of an apparent heart attack, the Boston Globe reported.

Gaines had carved out a national niche with his regional coverage of the coastal fishing industry, according to the Recreational Fishing Alliance. He covered politics initially for the Boston Phoenix, recently defunct, before moving to the shore in 1999, the Globe reported.

He began writing for the Gloucester Daily Times, covering politics. Five years ago he was asked to cover the commercial fishing industry, and as an avid fisherman, Gaines jumped at the chance, the Globe reported.

RFA executive director Jim Donofrio said in a statement that Gaines’ death was a blow to saltwater anglers on every coast.

"Richard was known as a commercial fishing reporter, being from Gloucester, but he was a journalist first and foremost who wrote the truth and didn't play any bias between the recreational and commercial sectors," Donofrio said. "The challenges facing local fishermen, the working-class fishery, have been mostly overlooked and minimized by glossy sportswriters who travel the globe in search of exotic species, but Gaines was not afraid to delve into the less glamorous side of running a fishing-related business."

Gaines reported extensively on government regulation of the fishing industry, which fishermen have criticized as excessive and unwarranted, the Globe reported. Two years ago, after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s inspector general, the federal government returned $650,000 in fines to a group of fishermen, acknowledging they had been assessed unfairly.

He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2010.

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