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.
Parts of the cod fishery could soon be closed or see tighter catch limits. The cod fishery has been in free-fall for years, but this week, the New England Fishery Management Council asked the federal government to take “emergency action” to stop the decline in cod stocks. That could mean closing sensitive areas to fishing.
Cod catch limits were cut by 77 percent in 2012, but Pat Fiorelli, Public Affairs officer with the council, says it hasn’t helped.
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.
A study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA finds that Atlantic Cod cod stocks have reached the lowest level ever.
Russ Brown, with the NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, says after researchers observed declining cod stocks in 2011, counts during the last fishing season showed cod populations continue to slide.
"All three of the bottom trawl surveys have all reached record low levels, and our estimate of spawning stock biomass coming out of the stock assessment has also reached record low levels," says Brown.
New Hampshire fishermen who are hoping for federal disaster relief funds will have to wait a bit longer for those dollars. Money slated to go to the Northeastern ground-fishermen was caught up in the discussions surrounding the so-called fiscal cliff.
New Hampshire fishermen facing cuts and closures imposed on them because of declining fish populations say regulators are putting them out of business. Thursday those fishermen learned that they might get some financial relief. The federal government has declared a disaster in the New England Ground-fish fishery.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced cuts to the catch limits on Atlantic Cod for the 2012 fishing year. But New Hampshire fishermen got a reprieve, since the cuts could have been much worse.