MA gov asks commerce sec. to raise catch limits

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AP (file)

AP (file)

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is asking the U.S. commerce secretary to raise fishing catch limits by the end of next week.

Patrick made his request in a letter Wednesday to Gary Locke as a follow-up to Locke’s visit to Massachusetts last month.

He said fishermen were facing severe hardship because of unnecessarily low catch allotments, and asked Locke to act by Oct. 15 to raise the limits.

The catch limits aim to protect weaker fish stocks, but fishermen say more can be caught without breaking the law or hurting efforts to stop overfishing.

Patrick also suggested that Locke use $2.1 million in fines collected from fishermen to pay for a team assessment of groundfish stock health by the fishing industry and regulators.

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