PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A federal panel is considering new protections for deep-sea corals in the Atlantic Ocean that would impact commercial fishing interests off New England.
The New England Fishery Management Council is focusing on corals in waters south of Georges Bank off the Massachusetts coast. Georges Bank is an important fishing area for lobster, haddock and many other species.
The council has narrowed its options down to two.
Environmental organizations have come out in support of the option that has greater impact on shallower waters because they believe it would do more to protect vulnerable corals that can be harmed by fishing gear.
Fishing groups have opposed that option, citing a host of regulations they already face.
New England’s corals grow along underwater canyons and support marine life, such as sea turtles.
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