BOSTON — There are five zones off the New England coast drawn in varying angles and shapes, all rich with fish, or at least they were at one time. It's why regulators looking to preserve valuable species closed these areas to certain kinds of fishing year-round, beginning in the 1990s.
Two decades later, a fishing industry in crisis wants to get back in.
Closing areas, fishing advocates say, is an outdated tool of a discarded fishery management system, and fishermen can now safely catch the healthy fish stocks that swim there. With regional fish populations limping along, they say, there's little evidence closing these areas has worked anyway.
"After this ... 19-year science experiment, have we got any positive proof that anything actually happens?" New Hampshire fisherman Dave Goethel asked at a meeting of regulators this fall.
But others argue regulators are moving too fast to open long-protected areas next year without understanding the consequences. They say closed areas generally work to protect fish and their habitats, and the current crisis in New England doesn't disprove that.
Read the full story at the Gloucester Daily Times>>
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