The New England Fishery Management Council is asking the federal government to consider allowing fishermen to catch more haddock in the Gulf of Maine this year.

The council voted Wednesday to ask the National Marine Fisheries Service to raise the haddock catch limit for the 2014 fishing year. The fishing year began May 1 and ends April 30, 2015.

The catch limit is currently close to 700,000 pounds.

The council’s proposal passed by a vote of 15-1.

The request is contingent on a July assessment of the haddock fish stock.

A spokeswoman for the fishery council says the higher limit would apply to commercial and recreational fishing.

On Friday, the council decided not to allow Atlantic herring fishermen to exceed their limit for haddock bycatch this year.

Federal regulators say Atlantic herring fishermen who fish from mid-water trawl boats are on track this year to exceed their limit for incidental catch of haddock in Georges Bank. That would trigger rules that would effectively shut down the herring fishery.

Many haddock fishermen have opposed raising the catch cap because they say it would contribute to the depletion of their own fishery.

The management council’s decision comes less than a month after the National Marine Fisheries Service said part of the Gulf of Maine’s Atlantic herring fishery needed to be shut down for nearly a year.

The fishery council is an intergovernmental body that represents federal and state entities.


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