Saturday May 19, 2012

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (AP) -- A group assembled to find ways to help fishermen survive an 80-percent cut in the yellowtail flounder catch on George Bank is meeting next week.

The group of fishermen, environmentalists and regulators was formed by national and regional fishery managers to deal with the massive cut, which went into effect May 1.

Low catch limits on the yellowtail prevent fishermen from going after the more lucrative or plentiful fish swimming among yellowtail.

Fishermen have said the recent cut will devastate the regional fleet of fishermen who chase bottom-dwelling groundfish, such as cod, haddock and flounder.

Fishermen have already asked regulators to transfer hundreds of thousands of pounds of the yellowtail quota from the scallop fleet to fishermen. That's because recent projections indicate scallopers will catch far less yellowtail this year than previously thought.