New England regulators approve steep fish cuts

January 30, 2013 • Business

New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Marine Division Chief, Doug Grout, listens to the discussion during the a New England Fishery Management Council meeting in Portsmouth, N.H., Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. The council met to decide 2013 limits on stocks including cod on Georges Bank and in the Gulf of Maine. (AP photo/Portsmouth Herald, Ioanna Raptis)

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) — New England fishermen say their centuries-old industry is facing collapse after regulators on Wednesday approved cuts in cod catch limits that fishermen warn will hollow out what remains of the fleet.

“I’m bankrupt. That’s it,” Gloucester fisherman Paul Vitale, 40, a third-generation fisherman. “I’m all done. The boat’s going up for sale.”

The New England Fishery Management Council approved a year-to-year cut of 77 percent on the Gulf of Maine cod limit and 61 percent for Georges Bank cod. The move is expected to be backed by federal managers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Fishermen who chase the region’s bottom-dwelling groundfish, such as cod and flounder, say the cuts are unjustified and leave them with far too few fish to catch to make a living.

“We are headed down the wrong course Login to read more

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