Fishing Limits Threaten Industry, Massachusetts Says

New U.S. fishing regulations threaten to drive the industry into extinction, Massachusetts said in a lawsuit against federal agencies.

The state sued the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Commerce Department, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the individuals who run them, according to a complaint filed today in federal court in Boston by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.

Massachusetts claimed that new federal rules, called Frameworks 48 and 50, have reduced by 77 percent the amount of certain fish that can be caught in New England. The state said the regulations are “threatening the extinction of an industry” and violate the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which governs fishing management.

“The devastating impact of the Frameworks on the families and small businesses that earn their living fishing groundfish, and on the communities where they reside, is beyond dispute,” the state said in its complaint.

The Commerce Department, which administers the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, had no immediate comment.

The case is Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Rebecca Blank, 13-cv-11301, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (Boston).

To contact the reporter on this story: Don Jeffrey in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha

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