Changes Could Come to East Coast Monkfish Business

Fishermen from Bramante Seafood unload a haul of monkfish in Boston, Wednesday Aug. 9, 2006, after an eight-day fishing trip off the coast of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Republican gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey visited the docks Wednesday and accused the Bush administration of favoring corporate fishermen over family boats that have historically fueled the Massachusetts maritime industry. (AP Photo/William B. Plowman)

Fishermen from Bramante Seafood unload a haul of monkfish in Boston, Wednesday Aug. 9, 2006, after an eight-day fishing trip off the coast of Massachusetts.  (AP Photo/William B. Plowman)

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Interstate fishing regulators are working on a new plan to manage the monkfish fishery on the East Coast.

Monkfish are bottom-dwelling fish that are fished commercially and are a popular menu item in seafood restaurants. The New England Fishery Management Council has initiated a plan to create new fishing specifications for the fish for the next three years.

A spokeswoman says the council’s monkfish committee will work this fall on specifications for the fishery. Rules will be approved in November. The rules could also remain status quo.

Fishermen catch monkfish from Maine to North Carolina, though most are brought ashore in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Fishermen typically catch between 16 million and 20 million pounds of the fish per year, and the catch is sometimes worth more than $20 million.

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