Overfishing Concerns Prompt New Restrictions on Cod Fishing

Solitary fisherman on Cape Cod at sunriseGLOUCESTER – Fishery regulators hope to implement emergency restrictions on cod fishing over concerns about the stock of the fish in the Gulf of Maine.

Under a proposal by NOAA Fisheries, fishermen would see their catch quota in 2015 reduced to 386 metric tons, a 1,200 metric ton reduction from this year.

“The Gulf of Maine cod stock, a historic icon of the New England fishery, is in the worst shape we’ve seen in 40 years. We’ve been monitoring it. Abundance is only three to four percent of levels deemed sustainable for the stock,” said NOAA Fisheries Regional Administrator John Bullard at a press conference in Gloucester. “We believe protecting these remaining aggregations of fish provide our best chance to prevent a cod stock collapse and a complete fishery closure.”

Officials are proposing to raise the catch quota for haddock, as its stock is in much better shape, according to officials.

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The New England Fishery Management Council, a multi-stakeholder body that develops management measures for federal fisheries, requested that NOAA Fisheries, on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce, implement immediate management measures to address the declining Gulf of Maine cod stock condition and the improved stock condition for Gulf of Maine haddock.