Cod quotas slashed to ‘unviable’ levels

PORTSMOUTH, NH – The groundfish industry has suffered through far more than its fair share of turbulent chapters over the past two decades – everything from the painful introduction of limited entry in Amendment 5 to the loss of friends who couldn’t see their way through the fleet’s steady downsizing, to the almost anarchy-like uprising that occurred years ago over rolling closures and a 30-pound cod trip limit, and, most recently, to the wrenching shift to hard quotas and sectors.

But for many, Jan. 30, 2013 – an unforgettable Wednesday – may go down as the worst of all. That was the day the New England Fishery Management Council approved a 2,506 metric ton (mt) acceptable biological catch (ABC) for Georges Bank cod and a 1,550 mt ABC for Gulf of Maine cod for the 2013-2015 fishing years, which represent a 55% and 77% reduction respectively from current levels.

This is gameover for the inshore Gulf of Maine. It’s tough to support a motion that says this is the best we’ve got, that your only alternative as managers is to collapse the fishery.
—Vito Giacalone 
Read the rest and much, much more in the March issue of Commercial Fisheries News. Download a pdf for immediate access and future reference.