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“A far worse result would be to fail to take the kind of action that would secure a future for this fishery,” he said.

Gib Brogan of the environmental group Oceana said too many boats have been chasing too few fish for too long. When those fish come back in greater numbers, the industry will figure out how to benefit.

“If there are fish to catch, there will be someone out there catching it,” Mr. Brogan said.