Study finds groundfishing on the rise

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A recent study on illegal groundfishing in New England finds the practice is rampant and on the rise, and the authors of the study are calling for stronger enforcement of the law and stiffer penalties for violators.

Published last week in the journal Marine Policy, the study is intended to be the first chapter in a planned series of four regional reports on fishery law enforcement compliance, according to a report in the Gloucester (Mass.) Daily Times.

The project was organized at the Environmental Law Institute and financed by the Lenfest Foundation, which was established at the Pew Charitable Trusts in 2000, the newspaper reports.

The study, called "Rational Noncompliance and the Liquidation of Northeast Groundfish Resources," is based on a 2007 survey of fishermen, managers, scientists and enforcement officials. The report concluded that the "deterrence effect of the existing enforcement system" in the New England groundfish fishery is "weak" because "economic gains from violating fishing regulations are nearly five times the economic value of expected penalties," according to the newspaper.

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