NEWPORT – The council that oversees the region’s fishing industry voted Tuesday to reopen vast swaths of Georges Bank to fishing, a decision decried by environmentalists as a blow to conservation efforts, but lauded by fisherman as a boon to their business.

The vote by the New England Fisheries Management Council could lead to the opening of more than 5,000 square miles of some of the world’s richest fishing grounds, and mean tens of millions of dollars in additional catch for fishermen.

The council’s decision, which has to be approved by federal regulators at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, would open more than 70 percent of areas previously closed on Georges Bank.

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