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Feds declare fishery disaster in the Northeast

Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank Thursday issued fishery disaster determinations in the Northeast.

The declarations open the door for tens of millions of dollars in funds to relieve struggling fishermen and their ports, but the finding offered no immediate and certain assistance, according to The Gloucester Times.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s analysis finds that despite fishermen’s adherence to strict catch limits, several key fish stocks in the Northeast groundfish fishery are not rebuilding, according to reports.

"Despite fishermen's adherence to catch limits over the past few years, recent data shows that several key fish stocks are not rebuilding," Blank wrote in a letter to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick on Thursday, according to the Martha’s Vineyard Times. "Low levels of these stocks are causing a significant loss of access to fishery resources with anticipated revenue declines that will greatly affect the commercial fishery."

The news comes as a think tank in England has made a controversial case for suspending fishing in Europe for nine years in areas with low levels reportedly caused by overfishing. The London-based New Economics Foundation argued in its report that the suspension would generate billions of pounds in profits by 2023. Private investment would compensate fishermen and maintain boats.

A senior UK fishing industry representative said stocks were already improving and that the idea made no sense.

Click here for more on the New England fishing emergency.

Click here for more on the British proposal to freeze fishing altogether.

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