PLYMOUTH, Mass. (AP) - New England fishery managers have agreed to consider allowing fishermen back into areas that have been closed to them for decades.
Such a move would give fishermen more access to healthy fish stocks and boost their businesses next year, when they face cuts in their catch so severe that it threatens the industry.
The unanimous vote Thursday at a meeting of the New England Fishery Management Council came amid concerns about the environmental effects of reopening the three closed areas, located in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank.
The year-round closures are intended to protect species of bottom-dwelling groundfish, such as cod, haddock and flounder.
Some environmental groups vowed to vigorously oppose any re-openings.
The council will consider giving final approval to measures to reopen the closed areas during its November meeting.