New catch rules to shake up NE fishing industry

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BOSTON  — New England’s centuries-old fishing industry is going to change dramatically under new rules that promise autonomy for fishermen and better protection for fish but have so far mainly inspired uncertainty.

The new regulations go into effect Saturday. They replace a system that was broadly unpopular and tried to stop overfishing by making fishermen less efficient, such as by slashing the number of days they were allowed to fish.

The idea of the new system is to give fishermen a chance to haul in more abundant fish when the market is right. It also eliminates the hated practice of throwing away fish, which fisherman were forced to do when they exceeded their daily limits for certain species.

Fishermen say regulators set catch limits so low on species such as pollock that their allotment will be quickly reached.