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From today's Globe.......

Fisheries official has catch seized
By Associated Press, 5/23/2001

PORTLAND, Maine - A Portland fishing boat that was caught trawling within a closed area of Georges Bank last week is owned by a member of the federal body that closed the fishing grounds.

The US Coast Guard spotted the 78-foot trawler, General George S. Patton, from the air on two occasions Friday fishing within the Georges Bank Seasonal Closure Area, authorities said.

The boat is owned by Barbara Stevenson, a member of the New England Fisheries Management Council, which closes the 4,600-square-nautical-mile area to protect cod and other species during the month of May.

Stevenson had to relinquish the catch and was ordered to return the boat to its home port of Portland. The catch of 6,000 pounds of assorted groundfish worth more than $10,000 was sold at auction by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The proceeds of the auction will be held in escrow pending a decision by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration general counsel.

Anthony Forestiere, a special agent with the National Marine Fisheries Service in Portland, said the situation looks like an honest mistake.

''You'd really have to be a complete moron to go [knowingly] into a closed area for a couple of days to fish,'' he said.

This story ran on page 4 of the Boston Globe on 5/23/2001.
© Copyright 2001 Globe Newspaper Company.
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