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Environment and Outdoors

Fishery Regulators Vote to Keep Cashes Ledge Protected

PORTLAND, Maine - Federal fishery regulators are keeping protections of Cashes Ledge in the Gulf of Maine as part of a broad effort to alter the scope of New England's fishing grounds.

The ledge is an underwater mountain and offshore ecosystem mostly closed to fishing that environmentalists have ardently opposed reopening. The New England Fishery Management Council says its protections will stay. The council is meeting Thursday to approve a long-awaited plan for federal waters from Maine to Rhode Island.

Council members are debating changes to habitat protections in the Gulf of Maine, George Bank, southern New England waters and other key fishing areas. The changes will impact the way fishermen harvest key food species including cod and scallops. Officials say the final plan will likely be approved by the end of Thursday.