Feds turn down request for porpoise closure relief
BOSTON—Federal regulators have rejected a fishing industry request to change plans to close a key fishing area off New England to protect harbor porpoises.
The Northeast Seafood Coalition, a fishing industry group, asked the National Marine Fisheries Service to begin the two-month closure next February, instead of November, and change the closed area's boundaries.
The coalition says that would better prevent porpoises from getting caught in fishing nets and ease a projected $10 million loss to fishermen.
But the head of the agency's Northeast office, John Bullard, said in a letter last week that an analysis indicates the coalition's suggestions wouldn't much help fishermen or porpoises.
He also blamed local fishermen for poor compliance with a requirement to install "pingers" on nets, which emit a sound that drives porpoises away.