Feds hold meetings for frustrated New England fishermen

Posted June 07, 2010, at 9:56 a.m.

BOSTON — Federal fishery managers are holding regional meetings this week to hear from fishermen frustrated by complex new rules and offer training on the new requirements.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has scheduled six meetings over the next few weeks — the first Thursday in New Bedford.

Fishermen switched May 1 to a system in which they split into groups called “sectors” to manage an allotted catch among themselves. The change aims to set tough catch limits while giving fishermen more autonomy.

But some fishermen describe the change as a bureaucratic nightmare.

They also complain new “observers” that track how much they catch are unqualified and inexperienced. Fisherman Richard Burgess told the Gloucester Daily Times that an observer on one of his boats spent an entire trip getting sick over the rail.