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Crisis Highlights Running Dispute Over US Fish Law

BOSTON (AP) — The law that governs the nation’s fisheries was passed 36 years ago to oust foreign boats from U.S. waters. Today, New England fishermen wonder if it will soon oust them.

The fishermen face colossal cuts in their 2013 catch limits, and lawmakers are pushing $100 million in aid to sustain the fleet.

Among the causes of the fishermen’s strife are certain controversial mandates of the fishery law.

One is a 10-year timeline for rebuilding a species. Critics say it’s unscientific and puts needless pressure on fishermen. But environmentalists say some deadline is essential, or fish recovery will be endlessly delayed.

Also, the law now requires an immediate end to overfishing, forcing steep cuts fishermen say they won’t survive. But environmentalists say the practice of phasing in needed cuts wasn’t working.

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