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Big Cuts in NE Fish Catch Officially Released

fishing boatsBOSTON (AP) — Federal regulators have officially released new rules for the 2013 fishing year in New England that implement broad cuts in catch limits on key fish stocks.

The reductions became official Tuesday, a day after fishermen rallied at a Boston fish pier and called for changes to ease some cuts. The 2013 fishing season begins Wednesday.

The most severe of the reductions is a 78 percent year-to-year cut in the catch limit for Gulf of Maine cod.

Fishermen who target bottom-dwelling groundfish, such as cod and flounder, argue the cuts will destroy the local industry. They say the fishery is so badly understood by scientists that regulators are destroying jobs based on bad data.

But regulators say a poor 2012 catch in key species proves stocks are struggling and cuts are needed to help them rebuild.

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