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Commerce Sec. to consider hiking fish limits

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AP (file)

AP (file)

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke says he’s open to raising the catch limits on certain fish species that fishermen say they urgently need.

Locke had initially expressed uncertainty about whether the nation’s fishery laws gave him the power to raise the catch limits on various species.

On Thursday, Locke said he’s now prepared to revise catch limits “whenever there is both sufficient economic and sound scientific data available to meet these requirements.”

Gov. Deval Patrick said he’s instructed state environmental officials to begin compiling the information. Environmental groups say any changes must continue to protect fishing stocks.

Fishermen have argued the limits on some protected species have been wrongly set so low, it will prematurely shut down fishing and devastate the industry.

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