U.S. Sen. John Kerry is asking the nation's ocean chief to support a federal disaster declaration for New England's fishing industry.

The Massachusetts Democrat also asked National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration head Jane Lubchenco for money to improve fisheries science and to pay for required fishing catch monitors.

The requests were among 11 Kerry made in a letter Wednesday to Lubchenco. The letter was a follow-up to Lubchenco's visit to Massachusetts this month to face questions about her agency's oversight of the local fishing industry.

Some local fishermen say the new management system unfairly doled out the fish catch and is killing traditional fishing communities by forcing small boat fishermen out of business.

Lubchenco says the new system is a dramatic improvement and will lead to healthier fish populations and higher catch limits.