NOAA Fisheries has opened the public comment period for the proposed management rule that includes withering cuts to several groundfish species and reductions in the overall level of at-sea monitoring (ASM) coverage for the beleaguered groundfish fleet.

It seems the proposed rule, also known as Framework 55, has a little bit of something for everyone to hate. They have until close of business on April 5 to submit their comments to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Environmental groups, such as Oceana, are bitterly criticizing the projected reduction in ASM for groundfish boats to about 14 percent from about 24 percent, saying the rule will “weaken the chances of recovery for this historic fishery.”

Fishermen point to the further reductions in what they already consider minuscule catch quotas and say those reductions — combined with the absorption of the costs for ASM — could finally be the management initiative that shutters the Northeast multispecies groundfish fishery for good.

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