PROVIDENCE, R.I. >> The federal government is recommending reducing the commercial fishing quota for butterfish by more than 40 percent in the coming year.
Butterfish are small fish that are used for food and bait. They’re caught along the East Coast. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is proposing a decrease of 41 percent in the 2018 quota for the fish.
The agency says an assessment of the butterfish stock showed that the fish have struggled with poor survival to adulthood in recent years. It says butterfish quota could be increased in 2019 and 2020 if survival returns to average.
Fishermen have caught at least 1.5 million pounds of butterfish every year since at least 1950. Rhode Island is the biggest producer.
NOAA also is proposing a 2 percent increase for longfin squid.