A federal appeals court has rejected claims by New England's largest fishing ports that federal fishing law was improperly enacted and would lead to the destruction of local fleets. 

In its decision Wednesday, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2011 lower court decision in the suit brought by the ports of New Bedford and Gloucester, as well as fishermen and fishing groups.   New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell was unhappy with the ruling.

The plaintiffs argued the catch shares management system, installed in 2010 was squeezing out smaller fishing businesses, and should have been subject to a two-thirds referendum by fishermen.

But the court said federal regulators installed the law properly. And it noted some believe that, rather than destroying smaller business, the rules provide better protection.