Status quo tightens squeeze on fishermen

For Joe Orlando, who skippers the 65-foot dragger Padre Pio out of Gloucester with his son Mario as the only crew member, a recent Saturday proved a good day in a season he thinks is bound for the rocks.

Hot sun and calm waters buoyed the Padre Pio and her catch, mostly flounder, that Orlando expected would fetch $1,300 on the market Monday. But with most catch limits cut by about three quarters in the fishing year that began May 1, a few more good days and Orlando may have to hang it up by midsummer, he said.

But Orlando, who went out fishing about 100 days annually in recent years, estimates he hauled in about 10 percent of his flatfish quota in that one day, during just 13 hours at sea, a few miles off the coast of Cape Ann. And other fishermen who gathered with him at Fisherman’s Wharf Tuesday told of being caught in a similar squeeze.

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