New England fishermen find themselves at a critical transition. Federal law mandates that overfishing end by 2010. With restrictions on fishing tight and no relaxation in sight, many fishermen are selling their permits and getting out. Others are buying them up, to be in good position if and when stocks rebound. The stock crashes have also inspired considerable introspection. Where 25 years ago, fishermen likely espoused an "endless bounty" view of the sea, today they talk about ecosystem health and stress sustainable fishing practices. They're increasingly concocting – and pushing for – what they say are both fish- and fisherman-friendly solutions. The hunters now emphasize environmental stewardship. Ecological collapse has triggered a cultural shift among fishermen, whom some call "New England's other endangered charismatic megafauna."
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