Severe Impacts On Cod
Transition Period Sought
by Laurie Schreiber
Fishery managers are searching for ways to minimize the pain to fishing communities of expected reductions in Gulf of Maine cod catch levels.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has said that federal fishery law gives it some leeway to implement an interim measure for fishing year 2012 in the Gulf of Maine cod fishery. NMFS has indicated that the interim measure will impose a reduction in catch level for Gulf of Maine cod that is expected to be workable in terms of keeping the commercial and recreational fleets in business for another year.
But the pain is expected to come rushing back in 2013. At that time, NMFS has indicated, reductions in catch levels will likely be drastic, in order to meet a federal timeline to end overfishing on the cod stock.
At the February 10 meeting of the Gulf of Maine Cod Working Group, New England Fisheries Management Council (NEFMC) chairman Rip Cunningham called the situation “extraordinary.” “This situation is not going to just go away,” Cunningham said.