Coveted monkfish is long on rules, short on data

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BOSTON (AP) — The monkfish is a one-time trash fish that has developed into a profitable commercial species.

But the monkfish is also relatively poorly understood by federal regulators. And some fishermen say that's costing their troubled industry tens of millions of dollars annually.

In a letter last month to the northeast region's science chief, the Monkfish Defense Fund argued that the lack of monkfish information had led federal regulators to be too cautious in managing it.

They say that's meant unneeded restrictions that are suppressing the catch on an abundant species.

Federal regulators say they're working with industry to fill monkfish knowledge gaps. But they say cautious catch limits are appropriate in the meantime. They say if you don't know how quickly monkfish can replace themselves, it's impossible to judge how much of a catch is too much.

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