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Regulators Reject Lobster Restrictions in Gulf of Maine Cod Spawning Areas

NEWPORT, R.I. - Federal regulators have voted not to restrict lobster fishing in cod spawning areas in the Gulf of Maine.

The New England Fishery Management Council was considering a proposal to prohibit lobster gear from those areas out of concern over unintentional cod by-catch.

At a meeting in Rhode Island, many lobstermen opposed that idea, arguing that the data being used to justify the motion was unreliable.

That's also the position of Maine's Department of Marine Resources. "The Department does oppose this on the basis that these measures have not been sufficiently analyzed," said Maine DMR Deputy Commissioner Meredith Mendelson.
 
The council ended up passing a motion calling for more study on the issue, directing its groundfish team to work with regulators at the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

The motion says no management decision affecting the lobster fishery is to be taken until all available data are fully analyzed.