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Vote Expected On West Coast Fishery

Pacific Coast fishery regulators are expected to vote Friday in San Diego on new rules that would dramatically change the way fishermen harvest snapper, flounder, cod and other fish that live near the

Vote Expected On West Coast Fishery

Pacific Coast fishery regulators are expected to vote Friday in San Diego on new rules that would dramatically change the way fishermen harvest snapper, flounder, cod and other fish that live near the ocean floor. KPBS Environmental Reporter Ed Joyce has more.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council gave preliminary approval to a plan that would give each fishing boat a fixed share of the West Coast groundfish fishery.  

The final vote is expected today.

The new rules would give each trawler a percentage of the total groundfish harvest, so fishermen would not need to rush out to grab their portion of the catch.

The new management program would also reduce the amount of bycatch -- unwanted fish that are caught and dumped overboard.

The system is already used in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, Canada, Australia, Iceland and other countries.

The groundfish fishery includes about 80 species. It's the biggest on the West Coast, worth $60 million last year.

While most parties agree that individual quotas will help preserve the beleaguered fishery, fishermen and processors disagree over how the quotas should be allocated.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.