Group digs in vs. fed 'habitat' plans

Now, the Gloucester-based industry group is gearing up for the next potential threat to the already-reeling Northeast groundfish industry: the Habitat Omnibus Amendment.

“It’s all about habitat,” NSC executive director Jackie Odell said when asked what’s next on the coalition’s agenda.

And with good reason.

The crafting of the Habitat Omnibus Amendment ultimately will determine the specific areas of the ocean that will be open to fishermen in the Northeast multispecies fishery. The modifications are expected to take effect in the winter of 2015.

It is an extraordinarily complex process, now moving into its sixth year. It is heavily driven by science and varying perspective — and thus often rife with the contention and disagreement that have emerged as the hallmarks of the effort to sustain and govern the American commercial fishing industry.

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