Federal fishery managers have proposed rules that could radically change how New England's fishermen are regulated.
The long-discussed rules, formally announced Thursday by NOAA, enable fishermen to form "sectors" _ groups that divide an allotted catch. The idea is that increased autonomy and hard catch limits will lead to more profitable and sustainable fishing.
The current system tries to stop overfishing by such measures as limiting fishermen's days at sea. The proposed changes allow fishermen to remain under current rules, but the total number of available fishing days would be cut by a third.
Some fishermen strongly oppose the changes, which are now in a 30-day public comment period.
They say the changes will consolidate the industry, killing fishing communities, and that the sectors' allotted catch limits are unfairly low.