BOSTON (AP) - The U.S. commerce secretary has denied a request by the governor of Massachusetts for emergency increases in fish catch limits, saying there's no new science to justify them.
Secretary Gary Locke said in October he was open to the increases, but needed evidence to support them.
Gov. Deval Patrick responded in November with a report by state scientists that said fishermen could safely catch 14,500 metric tons more groundfish without hurting stocks.
A federal fisheries spokeswoman said Friday that the report gave Locke no legal basis to change the limits, because it simply offered a different analysis of the same data regional regulators had already used.
She says federal regulators are willing to work with the state to find new information that might justify increasing limits.'
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