March 13, 2013

'End to end' fish assessment planned in New England

The Associated Press

BOSTON — An "end to end" analysis of how regulators determine the health of New England groundfish stocks is now planned after being pushed by a federal advisory board.

Groundfish are bottom-dwelling species such as cod and flounder, and the struggles of some species are forcing huge cuts in 2013 catch quotas. But fishermen have long criticized the stock assessments, pointing to past mistakes and saying the data behind them is flawed.

Massachusetts Congressman Bill Keating formed the Federal Fishing Advisory Board last year and advocated the review, which will be conducted by state and federal regulators and industry members.

The review has three priorities: incorporating environmental changes into fishery management; studying how the fishery is monitored and surveyed; and looking at how overfishing is determined, as well as certain details on how catch levels are set.

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