STONINGTON, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut fishermen say they will suffer from proposed federal regulations that would further limit their days at sea, but don’t know what the toll will be on the state’s lone fishing fleet.

“Everyone will take a hit. That’s for sure,” said John Rita, the captain of the Seafarer.

“But we don’t know what we’re getting until we get it in writing,” he said.

The regulations, drawn up by the New England Fishery Management Council, would cut the fishing days for groundfish, such as haddock, cod, flounder and other species by up to 24 percent.

If enacted by the U.S. Commerce Department, the regulations would take effect in May. The new rules were enacted after a federal judge ruled the government was not doing enough to reduce the pressure on groundfish stocks.

Currently, the maximum number of days at sea for a boat is 88, although many boats are out for fewer days.

All boats would have to cut their number of days at sea by up to 24 percent.

Sixty percent of the days at sea could be used to fish for any species of groundfish, while the remaining 40 percent could only be used to catch groundfish species that are more plentiful.

Boats would be able to lease their unused days to other boats.

Fishermen said the proposed regulations are confusing. Starting in January, fishermen may comment on the regulations to the National Marine Fisheries Service, an agency within the Commerce Department.

Arthur Medeiros, the president of the Southern New England Fishermen and Lobstermen’s Association, said he is not in favor of the plan.

“We already have our hands full. Fishing is coming back. All these guys want to do is go to work,” Medeiros said.


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