Friday, November 14, 2014

New Cod Ban in the Gulf of Maine

          Earlier this week the federal government issued a temporary six month ban on all commercial fishing of Cod in the gulf of Maine. The measure is unprecedented, and includes several components:

1. Areas where commercial cod fishing was already banned have been expanded
2. These existing bans now apply to recreational fisherman
3. Allowed accidental catch of cod is reduced to 200 lbs per boat
4. Tightened reporting requirements
5. Reduced the allowed net size

          John Bullard, Greater Atlantic regional administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was quoted as saying

“We’re trying to absolutely shut down fishing where there are concentrations of cod, so there will be zero cod caught"

          The measure comes after an NOAA Assessment this past summer, which found that the cod population had dropped much more than previously thought and that it was only 3% of what would be necessary to sustain a healthy population. Further, there were few young fish as a result of also low spawning rates. Overfishing and climate changes have been cited as two possible explanations for the dramatic decline.

          While environmental groups have praised the measure, local fisherman have spoken out against it calling it a threat to their livelihoods. They say that with measures this strict, they are unable to leave the docks and fish at all.

            There are definitely two sides to this issue, and not necessarily a clear answer. Which do you think is more harmful: overfishing a single species to near extinction or essentially shutting down all commercial fishing in one of the regions largest hubs? Let me know what you think in the comments section.

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