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Gloves Come Off Over Groundfish

November 12, 2007

Fishermen’s Voice
November 2007
By Chris Weiner

New England’s beleaguered groundfish fishery has suffered under many years of regulations aimed at rebuilding stocks of cod, haddock and other groundfish. Groundfish closed areas, including rolling closures, have kept these fishermen out of many areas off the New England coast for years.

Based on questionable decisions, though, massive herring midwater trawlers have been allowed to fish in these areas despite towing larger nets, with smaller mesh, at a higher speed than any groundfish vessels are capable of.

On October 11, Earthjustice filed a petition on behalf of the Midcoast Fishermen’s Association and the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (groups that represent groundfish fishermen) asking the Secretary of Commerce and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to change regulations that currently allow these large herring trawlers to fish in areas off limits to the region’s groundfish fleet.

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