Midsized vessels with new gear will be allowed to fish yellowtail flounder

Posted April 30, 2012, at 7:37 p.m.

BOSTON — Federal regulators have announced steps aimed at easing the impact on fishermen of an imminent 80 percent cut in the yellowtail flounder catch on Georges Bank.

Yellowtail isn’t a top-dollar fish. But the tight catch limit, in effect Tuesday, will prevent struggling fishermen from chasing the more valuable, abundant fish that yellowtail swim among.

On Monday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it would allow midsized fishing vessels to use new gear designed to help fishermen avoid yellowtail as they seek the more abundant species.

Yellowtail also is caught accidentally by scallopers, so they are allotted a portion of the annual catch so their lucrative industry won’t be shut down for overfishing yellowtail.

On Monday, NOAA said it would give fishermen any portion of the yellowtail allotment that it projects scallopers won’t use.

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