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Curbs on Fishing Off New England Coast Are Backed

October 27, 1994| From Reuters

DANVERS, Mass. — Federal regulators, hoping to stem the collapse of fish stocks, approved a measure Wednesday to impose harsh new restrictions on fishing off the New England coast.

The plan, endorsed by the New England Fishery Management Council, which regulates commercial fishing, could lead to a complete prohibition of fishing on the Georges Bank, once one of the world's richest fishing grounds.

Angry fishermen charged that the restrictions will ruin their already troubled industry, and accused scientists and environmentalists of overstating the problem.

The council's action comes in the wake of new studies which say that fish stocks are worse than previously thought and are not sustainable at current fishing levels.

In recent years, the numbers of such species as cod, yellowtail flounder, haddock and other groundfish have declined steadily, and regulators had already imposed some new rules.

Details on exactly how large an area of the Georges Bank will be closed have yet to be worked out.

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