New England fishermen plead for gov't aid

New England fishermen write lawmakers with plea as deep cuts in catch threaten fleet's future

Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) -- Fishermen from all over New England have written to members of Congress asking for urgent help surviving deep and impending cuts to their catch limits.

The letter dated Tuesday was signed by 173 fishermen in ports from Connecticut to Maine. It comes as the industry prepares for May 1 catch reductions that fishermen say could finish off the fleet.

The letter blames the "failure of government policies" for the dire situation, saying the fleet has fished within government-set catch limits on every groundfish species.

It asks the lawmakers to press for less drastic cuts, federal money to pay for mandated at-sea catch observers and improvements to fishery science. It also asks for disaster aid.

The letter ends by warning that for many, "this is probably our last shot at survival."

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