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New ‘cod protection’ closures may give fleet access to other groundfish in April


NEWPORT, RI – It’s far from a done deal, but if the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) approves the New England Fishery Management Council’s newly developed set of “Gulf of Maine Cod Protection Closures” as part of Framework Adjustment 53 to the groundfish plan, sector fishermen may have access to inshore areas during the month of April that have been off limits for years, giving them a chance to harvest flatfish, haddock, and other healthy stocks for which they have quota.

We appreciate the opportunity for our members to get a little bit of relief in April.  We feel that this is going to be a huge mitigating measure.  —Jackie Odell

“I guess there is life at the end of this and a reason for living again,” said Gloucester fisherman Joe Orlando on Nov. 19 when the council voted up the new closure package as its “preferred alternative”.

“We’ve been fighting for April ever since I can remember,” Orlando said.  “This couldn’t have come at a better time since you’re giving us back Gulf of Maine haddock.”

While Framework 53 includes a staggering reduction in the annual catch limit (ACL) for Gulf of Maine cod, it also includes a gigantic increase in the ACL for haddock.

Jackie Odell of the Northeast Seafood Coalition said, “We appreciate the opportunity for our members to get a little bit of relief in April.  We feel that this is going to be a huge mitigating measure.”
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Read the rest of this story and much, much more in the January issue of Commercial Fisheries News.  Buy this issue or Subscribe.   

(Read online immediately with access key and download for future reference.)

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