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Feds back off New England fishing restrictions

U.S. commerce secretary Gary Locke on Thursday gave the Northeast fishing industry almost everything it asked for in its yearlong battle with NOAA and its director, Dr. Jane Lubchenco.

After balking for weeks, Locke agreed that he does have the authority under the Magnuson-Stevens Act to make emergency revisions to regulations if they are justified and can be supported by science.

That means that any possible increases in catch limits for such things as yellowtail flounder will have to wait for the available science to be gathered from all sources - not just the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this time - and then be used to calculate changes.

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