The federal government finalized the most fundamental changes in New England fishing rules in more than a generation yesterday, over the strenuous objections of many fishermen who say they will be put out of business.
The new rules, which take effect May 1, come after years of effort by the federal government and environmental groups to stop overfishing of the region’s fabled cod, flounder, and other bottom-dwelling species that once were said to be so plentiful that colonists caught them simply by lowering baskets into the sea.
The rules encourage boat owners to organize into groups that will be allocated a share of the annual quota for each species, and already fishermen who account for the vast majority of the catch in New England have voluntarily formed groups, called sectors. The system is designed to give fishermen more financial incentive to be good stewards of the sea and more flexibility in deciding who fishes and when, such as allowing fishermen to avoid bad weather.
The government is also lowering the total amount of many species of fish that can be caught.
Read More: By Beth Daley, Boston Globe