SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] March 6, 2015
With numbers at the lowest levels ever recorded, environmental groups petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service today to end targeted fishing for Gulf of Maine cod. These once-plentiful fish have declined 90 percent since 1982, when monitoring began, and 77 percent in the past five years alone. Currently Gulf of Maine cod are at 3 percent to 4 percent of what a well-managed stock should be.
The suit, under the Administrative Procedures Act, seeks to force NOAA to abide by a 10 year rebuilding plan for cod, as called for under the Magnuson Stevens Act. The practical effect would a total closure of the directed fishery for cod.
“The giant cod catches of yesteryear are over — these poor fish have been exploited to commercial extinction,” said the Center’s Catherine Kilduff. “For cod to live on as a symbol of New England’s prosperity and perseverance, they have to live on in our ocean. It’s time to help bring back Gulf of Maine cod.”
"Today’s petition urges the Fisheries Service to follow the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act requirement to rebuild overfished species. The Center for Biological Diversity, Turtle Island Restoration Network, SandyHook SeaLife Foundation and Greenpeace called for the Fisheries Service to prohibit fishing for Gulf of Maine cod, allowing catch only incidental to other targeted fish, and reduce such bycatch to levels that allow the cod population to rebuild," said the Center for Biological Diversity.
In the past four years, three assessments confirmed the Gulf of Maine cod’s downward trend...