BOSTON — Regulators have proposed a substantial increase in the catch limit of a key New England fish species, yellowtail flounder.

The recommendation announced today comes from regulators of a section of Georges Bank jointly managed by the U.S. and Canada.

Their proposed yellowtail increase is 18 percent more than last year’s catch limit and 44 percent more than what was proposed for the 2011 fishing year, which starts in May.

The change, which needs final approval, follows a new law that exempts U.S. negotiators from considering a 10-year timeline to rebuild fish stocks when dealing with Canada. Lawmakers said the tight timeline put the U.S. at a disadvantage.

Fishermen also argued they needed a higher yellowtail limit because if they exceed their limit on one species, they must stop fishing on all stocks.