Fears rise that laws may destroy N.H. fishing

As the New England Fishery Management Council gathers in the Port City this week to discuss the fate of the region’s fishing industry, lawmakers are advocating a softening of regulatory proposals they say could wipe out commercial fishing in New Hampshire.

The first of a four-day New England Fishery Management Council meeting began Monday behind closed doors at the Sheraton Harborside Hotel. Fishermen are most anxious for Wednesday, when the council will discuss in public the details of its request to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service for interim action regarding overfishing of Gulf of Maine cod and haddock in 2013.

Portsmouth fisherman Erik Anderson, president of the N.H. Commercial Fishermen’s Association, said Wednesday will be the day the council discusses the fate of this and other fishing communities as it addresses fishing quotas. Proposals suggest reductions of cod and haddock catches by as much as 80 percent, he said.

“The impacts are huge. We’ve said it right along,” he said. “This is it. If these guys don’t have any fish to catch, it’s over.”

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