With the Atlantic cod population dwindling, federal regulators are closing some areas in the Northeast to all cod fishing.
On Monday, Nov. 10, federal regulators announced they will be closing parts of the Gulf of Maine to both commercial and recreational cod fishing. The moratorium went into effect on Thursday and will lasts through May of 2015.
Due to the continual decline of cod in the north Atlantic, the population has reached an all time low. The federal intervention hopes to prevent a total collapse in the stock and give the population time to rebuild. Although the number of cod has been falling for decades, the last three years have shown a 13 to 18 percent decrease, even with protection measures and monitoring in place.
Coastal areas in Massachusetts and New Hampshire have been hit the hardest and will therefore see the most closures. For those areas that are not temporarily closed, new regulations have been put in place to limit cod harvests to 200 pounds per trip. This is new to cod fisherman who have previously not had to deal with any limit restrictions.
Although this seems like a necessary action to protect the cod as a species, it’s expected to have a huge economical impact on the New England coast. Not only will hundreds of fisherman be out of work, but local supermarkets and coastal restaurants are likely to suffer as well. To try to offset this financial burden, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been allowed to double the limit on the amount of haddock to 1.3 million pounds.