Federal regulators are recommending a host of new restrictions to protect the Gulf of Maine's declining cod fishery.
The federal New England Fishery Management Council's Groundfish Oversight Committee on Wednesday recommended a battery of changes, including implementing expansions to existing inshore spawning closures. The panel also requested a review of the extent of cod bycatch in the lobster fishery.
The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service says the amount of cod spawning in the Gulf is estimated at only 3 to 4 percent of its target level. That number represents a decline from 13 to 18 percent three years ago.
The New England Fishery Management Council is working on new management measures for the fish. The full council will consider the ground fish committee's recommendation at its meeting later this month.