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New Fishing Rules = More Fish for Our Future

June 29, 2009

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. - More fish for our future: that's what many scientists and fishermen are saying after last week's landmark decision by the New England Fishery Management Council. After months of debate and public hearings, the council voted overwhelmingly in favor of a new plan that would set catch limits, as opposed to limiting the "days-at-sea" for fishermen. New England's dwindling fish supplies have long been a concern for scientists and fishermen alike, says Peter Baker of the Pew Environment Group. He says this new plan is a positive first step.

"The fishing fleet won't be taking more fish out of the ocean each year than the fish stock can re-supply, and eventually that will lead to rebuilding of our fish stocks to sustainable levels, so that we can have seafood for future generations."

Eric Hesse, a long-time fisherman and member of The Cape Cod Hook Commercial Fishermen's Association, says that the industry has been struggling for many years, with too many fishermen and not enough fish. Although this new plan would be optional, he thinks most fishermen will see the long-term benefits.

"Eventually, I'm hoping that most fishermen who've been at it a while will participate, and it's going to be better for the fishermen and the fish."

Under the new plan, New England fishermen could join one of nineteen community based harvesting
co-ops called sectors. The plan now heads to Washington for approval, and if it passes would be
implemented in May of 2010.

More information on the plan is at newenglandfishing.org

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - NH