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NOAA Proposes Increase In Skate Catch Limits

Fisheries managers are proposing new catch limits that would allow Massachusetts fishermen to catch more of a fish called skate. The “wings” of the stingray-like whitefish are used as food and the rest is used for lobster bait.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) wants to increase the amount of skate fisherman can catch by 56 percent, from 31 million pounds to 48 million pounds.

NOAA says updated surveys of the skate population reveal there are more of the fish than previously thought, so it won’t hurt if fishermen catch more.

NOAA Regional Administrator Patricia Kurkul says fishermen often catch skate when they are after things like monkfish and scallops. If they catch too much, they may throw the extra back as “bycatch.”

But under the new limits, "as people are fishing for these other species, they will have the opportunity to bring in more skate than they would have," Kurkul said. "The revenue from that skate will be an increase to the bottom line for them."

Kurkul says the proposal will be open to public comment and review for a few weeks, but she hopes to implement it soon so fishermen can catch up to the new limit during the current fishing year, which started in May and ends in April.

This program aired on August 30, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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