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Congressmen complain that New England fishermen are being shortchanged

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Fishing quotas on black sea bass, summer flounder and scup are unfairly limiting the catch of New England fishermen, U.S. congressmen from the region said in a letter Monday to the U.S. Department of Commerce that complained about the current "out-of-date allocation formula."

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, was joined by Connecticut's two Democratic U.S. senators, Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, in the letter that was also signed by 13 other members of the Connecticut and Massachusetts congressional delegations. They noted that these fish species are heading north, looking for cooler water, yet New England states have been thwarted in cashing in on the bounty.

"State-by-state commercial allocations remain so low that our fishermen continue to throw catch overboard as fishermen coming from as far away as North Carolina can legally take sometimes more than ten times that of New England vessels in the same waters," the letter said.

The New England delegation requested changes to the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council quotas that set limits on fishing by the region's fishermen. They suggested that the mid-Atlantic group work with the New England Fisheries Management Council to develop a compromise management plan.

“As fluctuations in ocean temperatures shift fish populations northward, New England fishermen are unfairly shortchanged when bountiful stocks managed by a Fishery Management Council outside of their region allocates local states low catch quotas," the letter said.

l.howard@theday.com

 

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