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Court backs much of rules on N.E. fishing

WASHINGTON -- A federal court yesterday upheld large sections of New England's new fishing regulations designed to protect stocks from overfishing while still meeting fishermen's needs.

But US District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle handed conservation groups a victory in their challenge of the new rules, finding that the government must set up a better program for monitoring bycatch -- unintentional take of often protected fish, turtles, or sea mammals.

The regulations, known as Amendment 13, scaled back the number of fishing days and closed some fishing grounds. They have been an ongoing point of contention between fishermen who found them too limiting, and environmental groups that deemed them inadequate.The rules went into effect last May 1.

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