Commercial boats in New Bedford harbor. Photo by Tom Croke The top regulators of New England’s sagging fishing industry have asked fishermen not to take out their frustrations on the onboard catch observers who monitor what they pull up or throw back.

The request came in an open letter to fishing permit holders Thursday [May 16], a little over 2 weeks into a fishing year that saw the fleet take painful cuts in catch limits.

Observers have reported increased verbal abuse in recent months and the letter is a reminder that such anger is misdirected, said Rip Cunningham, chair of the New England Fishery Management Council and one of the 5 signees of the letter.

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