NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – The U.S. Commerce Department said Wednesday that it will send experts to six ports in the Northeast in April to identify the financial consequences of federal fishing rules.

The “economic development assessment teams” will conduct two-day evaluations in New Bedford and Gloucester, Mass.; Portland, Maine; Seabrook, N.H.; Point Judith, R.I. and Montauk, N.Y.

The teams will meet with local officials and fishing industry workers to learn about the economic effects of falling revenue caused by cuts in catch limits that aim to rebuild fish stocks.

“We know that by rebuilding stocks, we will improve economic conditions for fishermen and coastal communities, but we recognize that transition is difficult,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said in a prepared statement. “We are committed to help identify proactive solutions during these challenging economic times.”

Locke said he would send out the teams when he announced various changes earlier this month aimed at helping fishermen, including allowing more who have been accused of violating fishing law to have their cases reviewed for fairness.

The port visits come in the last month of a fishing year in which fishermen have switched to a new system in which they work in groups to divide an allotted catch. Federal regulators say it gives them the flexibility they need to survive tough times.

But the ports of New Bedford and Gloucester have sued, saying the catch allotments for many are needlessly low and are killing businesses.

New Bedford Mayor Scott Lang said leaders in the industry will meet with the visiting experts to “explain exactly what the real effect has been, the human hardship has been” with regulations leading to consolidation and collapse.

Regulators have a long way to go to make it right, he said, by increasing catch limits, improving the science that the rules are based on, and perhaps providing financial aid for fishermen.

“First steps forward are good starts, but until this entire system is overhauled and reformed … no one is going to get on the bandwagon” of having renewed faith in regulators, Lang said.