Trying to stay afloat

SEABROOK — Gov. Maggie Hassan will write a letter to federal fishing regulators supporting an alternative plan that, while still protecting local cod fish populations, will at least allow recreational party boats and commercial fishermen a hope of survival.

The Exeter Democrat traveled from the State House to Seabrook’s Yankee Fisherman’s Cooperative yesterday afternoon to hear the latest on the agonizing plight of local professional fishermen.

A 400-year-old industry in the Granite State, fishermen have over the years been hit with drastically shortened fishing seasons, catch limits, increased inspections and of late, entire sectors in the Gulf of Maine that are closed to fishing.

The result has left a New Hampshire fleet one-third its former size, with most remaining commercial fishing boats for sale and others permanently tied to docks and inactive. Those who once loved earning their livings from the sea in one of New Hampshire’s oldest industries are struggling to keep their financial heads above water, some finding it impossible to pay their boat loans or simply recoup the tens of thousands of dollars they’ve spent to purchase the fishing permits that allow them to ply their trade.

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