Hope for groundfish fleet springs eternal

New England fishermen aren’t the only ones concerned. New York draggers also fear the loss of their groundfish fishery should the interim rules take effect. Consequently, East Hampton, N.Y., town officials are trying to get other affected towns and their state and federal representatives to ask NMFS to revise the interim rule.

The question is, can legislators act quickly enough to prevent it from being implemented in May?

Meanwhile, a bill that aims to extend the 10-year stock rebuilding deadline that is shackling fishermen and fishery management council members alike was introduced in the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

Authored by Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and supported by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the bill would give fisheries regulators flexibility to extend the rebuilding period for a weakened fish species, provided it can be shown that the stock in question is demonstrably rebuilding. Doing so could help fishing communities weather the economic storm as fish populations rebuild.

They say hope springs eternal. Maybe spring’s arrival brings hope that better days lie ahead for the Northeast’s troubled groundfish fishery.

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