New England Cod Fishermen are again facing stricter catch limits.
Last year, fisherman faced a 77 percent cut in how many cod they could catch, and now the New England Fisheries Management Council has voted to establish another 75 percent cut. Together the cuts reduce the catch limit for Gulf of Maine Cod from 6,700 metric tons in 2012 to 386 in 2015.
John Bullard, the Northeast Regional Administrator for NOAA fisheries, says these “back to back” reductions will have “a tremendous impact on people who fish on the gulf of Maine,” but says they are necessary because “cod stocks in the Gulf of Maine are in freefall.”
The cuts will take effect this spring, but that doesn’t mean that nothing is being done this year to protect the fishery. Last week regulators announced emergency stop-gap measures including a 200 pound limit on the number of cod a boat could catch per trip, and the closure of fishing in certain parts of the Gulf of Maine. Those emergency measures will remain in place until the cut in the catch limit takes effect in May.