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Measuring around 18 miles long, New Hampshire has the smallest shoreline of all coastal states. But for about 400 years, it’s been enough to support small boat fishermen in the Seacoast region. They make their livings cruising New England’s waters for cod, lobster, shrimp and other stocks.For decades, the industry’s been challenged by declining populations of fish and shellfish, as well as changing federal regulations. As of 2010, New England fishermen are allowed to catch a set poundage of fish based on their take over a 10-year span. New Hampshire fishermen argue this change has made the cost of working outpace profits, forced many small boats out of business, and discouraged new people from entering the industry. No matter the cause, figures from the US Census Bureau clearly show an industry in decline. In Portsmouth, the Seacoast’s main city, the Census Bureau reports only 0.2 percent of residents work in the “Farming, fishing and forestry occupations” category. That’s compared to 0.6 percent in 2000. A number of New Hampshire fishermen, politicians, and historians believe that without change, the state’s small boat fishing industry is heading toward extinction.Summary provided by StateImpact NH

N.H. Joins Lawsuit Aimed At Blocking Fishing Regulations

New Hampshire is joining a lawsuit arguing that new federal rules will devastate New England's groundfishing industry.

Gov. Maggie Hassan and Attorney General Joseph Foster said Monday that New Hampshire has joined a lawsuit Massachusetts filed against fishing regulators in May seeking to block the rules.

The rules, which took effect May 1, included major cuts in catch limits for bottom-dwelling ground fish. The most significant cut is a 78 percent year-to-year reduction in the catch of Gulf of Maine cod, but fishermen have also absorbed huge reductions in key flounder and haddock species.

In court documents, New Hampshire says the rules will have a disproportionate impact on the state's fisheries because they employ smaller vessels that tend to fish closer to shore.

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