PORTLAND — A year after shifting to a new system for regulating New England fisheries, federal officials are increasing limits on 12 out of 20 groundfish stocks when the new season begins May 1.

Higher catch limits will be a relief for fishermen who saw across-the-board restrictions last year, when fishermen were first allowed to join “sectors” with specific allotments. This year, about half of fishermen will use that system, while the remainder will face restrictions on the number of days at sea.

Marjorie Mooney-Seus from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Service says bigger catch limits for 11 stocks including Georges Bank cod and Gulf of Maine cod are due to successful efforts to rebuild stocks. Higher limits on the 12th, Georges Bank yellowtail flounder, were negotiated with Canada.


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