New England fishermen face serious cod quota cuts –

New England fishermen face serious cod quota cuts Published:  11 February, 2013

FISHERMEN on the northern East Coast of the United States face big cuts in the amount of cod they will be able to catch later this year.

The New England Fishery Management Council has decided to reduce the legal harvest of cod in the Gulf of Maine area by 77 percent to a mere 1,550 tonnes for the new fishing season which starts on May 1st.

The cod quota for the Georges Bank zone near the ironically named Cape Cod have also been cut – by 55 per cent to just over 2,000 metric tonnes.

Both sets of quotas will have to be approved by the US NOAA (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration) but there is little doubt they will go through.

The fishing regulators have acknowledged that the cuts will have a serious economic impact on the New England fishing industry, but say they are absolutely vital in the fight to preserve stocks.The council’s spokeswoman Pat Fiorelli said the reductions were necessary because the stocks were in a serious state of decline. “It is really grim,” she added.

But some local fishermen disagree with the data that is coming from the regulatory authorities. They are disputing the science claiming it is flawed, and say for the past few years they have fished cod at below the recommended levels.

They are also warning that the move will result in some firms, which are already struggling, going out of business. Cod has been the mainstay of a large part of the New England deep sea fishing scene for many decades and the species is actually the  official state fish of Massachusetts.But if the scientists are to be believed there is a lot less cod around at the moment.