Fishery Regulators Approve Plan to Open Portions of Georges Bank
Fishery regulators are in process to approve a plan to reconfigure closed fishing areas on Georges Bank, a 10,000 square mile area of elevated sea floor off the coast of New England.
The New England Fishery Management Council voted to make the changes on Tuesday.
Currently, 7,000 square miles of habitat are closed to commercial fishing on the Georges Bank; the new plan will open 5,000 square miles of that space, leaving 2,000 square miles as protected habitat for species that live on the bank.
The council says its approval of the Georges Bank changes will allow New England's economically challenged ground fishing fleet to access healthy stocks of fish. However, some groups criticized the move.
“The council put short-term profits ahead of the needs of depleted ground fish,”said Gib Brogan,fisheries campaign manager for Oceana, an international marine conservation group based in Washington, D.C, in the Boston Globe.
The council's decision followed an April vote to keep protections to Cashes Ledge in the Gulf of Maine. While the Fishery Management Council approved the changes, the final decision rests with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The council is meeting this week in Newport, Rhode Island, until June 18.
This report includes information from the Associated Press.