Feds to Open Closed Areas to Groundfishing
December 23, 2012
New York Times: Regulators on Thursday [December 20] voted to reopen about 5,000 square miles of protected waters off the coast of New England to new applications from commercial fishing interests. The move drew concern from environmental advocates and praise from fishermen who hope access to the waters will boost the ailing industry.
The “groundfish closed areas” were set aside, for the most part, in the 1990s to preserve habitat along the seafloor and give critical species like cod and haddock a safe place to spawn. While recreational fishing and some limited commercial fishing have been allowed in these areas, environmental advocates and scientists say the restrictions are needed to help older female fish that help to increase stocks.
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