Written by Jen Finn
New England fishermen facing a dire future for their industry asked Congress in a letter Tuesday for immediate help surviving deep and impending cuts to their catch limits.
The letter, signed by 173 fishermen in ports from Connecticut to Maine, came as the industry prepares for May 1 catch reductions that fishermen warn could finish off the fleet.
A 77 percent cut in the catch limit for cod in the Gulf of Maine and a 61 percent decrease in the cod limit in Georges Bank, off southeastern New England, are the most significant in an array of 2013 catch reductions on bottom-dwelling groundfish.
The letter described the situation as "simply unbelievable" following rosy promises by regulators of healthier fish stocks and economic stability if previous regulations were enacted.
"There is no stability," said the letter, which was sent to 14 regional Congressmen and 12 U.S. Senators. "There are only repeated, record reductions in catch limits. Prosperity is a discarded dream. This is a real disaster."
The letter blamed "the failure of government policies and programs" to accept that current science is inadequate to effectively manage the fishery. It said the fleet has fished within government-set catch limits on every species for nearly a decade.
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National Fisherman Live: 3/10/15
In this episode, Online Editor Leslie Taylor talks with Mike McLouglin, vice president of Dunlop Industrial and Protective Footwear.
National Fisherman Live: 2/24/15
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The Gulf of Maine Research Institute is partnering with restaurants throughout the region for an Out of the Blue promotion of cape shark, also known as dogfish. Starting Friday, July 3 and running until Sunday, July 12, cape shark will be available at each participating restaurant during the 10-day event. Cape shark is abundant and well deserving of a wider market.
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