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Recreational Fishing Companies Say New Restrictions are Blow to Business

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Deep sea fishing companies say they are feeling the squeeze from new regulations on recreational fishing.

The new rules for recreational fishing come from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They reduce the number of haddock anglers can catch from fifteen to twelve each day and they eliminate cod fishing altogether.

Both regulations are meant to protect the cod population, which NOAA says is at a historic low.

But many in the charter boat industry, like April Nicoll who owns Al Gauron’s Deep Sea Fishing, say those dire assessments don’t line up with what they see out on the water.

“Oh my, they’re way too low. Every fish everybody’s pulling up is a cod. I’ll do it by passenger -- if we’re taking on average 40 people a day, maybe 6 cod each, thrown back.”

Nicoll says cod and haddock restrictions have driven some customers away and forced her company to find creative ways to stay in business. They’ve started fishing more pollock and are offering non-fishing related trips, like whale watching.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department has proposed setting the same restrictions on the recreational fishing of cod and haddock in state waters, which extend to three miles offshore. Those rules could go into effect as early as August 18th.

Jason Moon is a senior reporter and producer on the Document team. He has created longform narrative podcast series on topics ranging from unsolved murders, to presidential elections, to secret lists of police officers.

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