DOVER, Del. - Members of a regional fisheries council are eyeing options for protecting deep sea coral in the mid-Atlantic.
The issue was discussed Tuesday as the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council began a three-day meeting in Wilmington.
The council's ecosystems and ocean planning committee, which is considering alternatives for the council to present for public hearings, wrestled with how to balance the goal of coral protection with the interests of commercial fishermen. After lengthy debate, committee members voted to add an exemption for squid fishing to a list of proposed alternatives for management measures for discrete coral zones.
In other action, members of another committee agreed that participation in a monitoring and assessment program developed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission should remain the council's top research priority in 2015.
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