Feds to close Gulf of Maine fishing ground to protect porpoises

Posted April 19, 2012, at 2:16 p.m.

BOSTON — Federal fisheries regulators are restricting fishing in some waters near shore this fall to protect harbor porpoises in the Gulf of Maine.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries said Thursday that gillnet fishing will be banned in October and November in coastal waters from Maine to Cape Ann, Mass. Last year, 36 groundfishing boats made 721 fishing trips in the closure area during that two-month period. Other fishing boats are also used the area.

Spokeswoman Maggie Mooney-Seus says the Marine Mammal Protection Act requires rules to protect porpoises when mortality rates become too high. She says 792 porpoises died in nets in 2009 from Maine to the Middle Atlantic.

She says fishing boat operators can ease the economic impact by fishing elsewhere, fishing at other times of the year, or leasing their allocations to others.

 

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