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Feds Shut Down Cod Fishing Off New England Coast

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is shutting down cod fishing, from Provincetown up to the Canadian border. No fishermen – commercial or recreational – may trawl or use certain large nets that might catch cod.

Federal regulators are imposing the emergency fishing restrictions in response to plummeting numbers of cod in the Gulf of Maine. The measures will go into effect on Thursday and will prevent commercial fishermen from targeting cod.

“To take emergency action to reduce the amount of over-fishing occurring for the remainder of this fishing year.”

Michael Ruccio is a fishery policy analyst with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


“We also thought that for cod to make a meaningful recovery it’s important to begin to protect their spawning activities as well as where they aggregate and are found in large concentrations.”

The federal rules expand areas where cod fishing was already banned. And “accidental catches” of cod are limited to 200 pounds per boat.

“This is a total disaster. It proves that the government have failed to manage cod and the fisherman are going to pay the price.”

Angela San Filippo is director of the Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership. She says the recent federal cod counts were conducted without transparency. And she says they’re effectively shutting down groundfishing in the Gulf of Maine.

“It’s limiting the trawling, it’s going to limit the gill nets, it’s going to stop recreational fishing. It’s hitting everyone. Every single way of fishing is stopped.”

It’s unclear how the federal restrictions will affect the capture of fish other than cod. The rules are for the current fishing season and will be effective until May 12.


Copyright 2021 GBH. To see more, visit GBH.

Anne Mostue’s work in radio journalism has taken her from black bear dens in the North Woods of Maine to the streets of Seoul and San Juan.