Fishermen react to feds rejection of porpoise plan

GLOUCESTER, Mass.—A fishing industry group says regulators didn’t fully consider key factors when they rejected a request to delay a coming fishing area closure. The Northeast Seafood Coalition made the proposal after regulators announced the two-month closure to protect porpoises in the Gulf of Maine, starting in October. Porpoises aren’t endangered, but regulators say too many are getting killed in stationary gillnets. The coalition asked the government to start the closure in February. It said that would better protect porpoises and ease a $10.3 million loss to gillnetters. But regulators said the delay wouldn’t help fishermen or porpoises much. It also said too many gillnetters failed to install net devices that drive porpoises away. The coalition said regulators aren’t considering when fish are present in certain areas or how the closure will affect vessel crews.

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