2020 Maine Cod Haul Lowest in History

Pangaroo

Angler
Jan 15, 2021
107
48
28
I remember when Fluke and Cod were scarce in the NY Bight in the early 1970's because of the foreign Fishing. But whiting,ling and winter flounder were super abundant because they were protected within 12 miles . Same with the Raritan Bay flounder that lived right next to an open sewer and over development , runoff , you name it. When Long Island had no flounder , they had flounder. Wonder Why??? Draggers couldn't get them where they summered. And every party boat, recreational went there and slaughtered what remained.It was a tiny stock that recreationals could destroy themselves without commercial help. Whenever they cracked down really hard on commercials the fish have always come back strong relatively quickly except flounder . The late 1980's fluke levels were at historic lows , the gov't practically closed the commercial season and imposed strict recreational catch limits. Within a few short years the fluke were very numerous again . There's another post on NY Angler about how the fluke fishing was in 2020, most agreed that fluke are in decline . There use to be big bodies of fluke where it seemed like the bottom was paved with them. Now you get a fish here, there. The Southern Draggers come up North and catch 4000 pounds of Fluke a trip. NY is suing the Commerce Dept. to get 4000 pounds for the NY draggers. Kiss the Fluke Season goodbye when that happens.
 

Bachala

New Angler
May 14, 2019
33
48
18
Lot of guys bashing commercial fishermen here..... While I oppose drag nets etc... all of us recreational fishermen owe a big thanks to commercial guys who were the ones that got foreign commercial fleets off our coasts decades ago.
 

Roccus7

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 22, 2018
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cant agree more that the oceans are changing ..The west end on long island inshore seems to hold less fish every year...

I also agree that some species are killing others ..aka dog fish..wish they you put a price on their heads ,,just thin the schools ..I caught smooth doggies offshore last year had to be 20lbs ..didnt think they got that big !
The larger smooth hounds were always in LIS. Used to catch them on bunker chunks when I felt like chumming with bunker at the edges of Can 11 or 9
 

OVERBORED

New Angler
Jan 6, 2021
85
78
18
every recreational without a business tie agrees with me 100 percent.
Well, Im a recreational fisherman and I think I disagree with you on most points so there goes your statement that recs are in 100% agreement.

Take the lobster fishery. Once abundant in the western sound, now they are pretty much extinct. Has nothing to do with commercial fishing. Has to do with oxygen levels, runoff and water temps. Lobstermen on the Maine border were seeing record catches.

Take the closed areas on Georges Bank. Closed in the 90s but never really bounced back. How do you explain that?

Blackfishing has never been better on the East End while the West End is a constant grind. Basically a rod and reel fishery. How do you explain that?

I wish eliminating commercial fishing would be the answer to all our fishery problems but it goes much deeper than that!
 

Pangaroo

Angler
Jan 15, 2021
107
48
28
Well, Im a recreational fisherman and I think I disagree with you on most points so there goes your statement that recs are in 100% agreement.

Take the lobster fishery. Once abundant in the western sound, now they are pretty much extinct. Has nothing to do with commercial fishing. Has to do with oxygen levels, runoff and water temps. Lobstermen on the Maine border were seeing record catches.

Take the closed areas on Georges Bank. Closed in the 90s but never really bounced back. How do you explain that?

Blackfishing has never been better on the East End while the West End is a constant grind. Basically a rod and reel fishery. How do you explain that?

I wish eliminating commercial fishing would be the answer to all our fishery problems but it goes much deeper than that!
Either a part time commercial, retired bayman or in the party boat business . 100 percent of anglers who witnessed the horrible winter fishing from the early 90's to present agrees with me. I wish there was some way to identify the commercials on this website who pretend they're recreational fishermen.
Whiting , Ling, Flounder didn't disappear in 5 years because of the environment. Striped Bass swam in the same waters before this horrible environmental disaster you guys love to talk about . were poisoned by PCB's , were virtually eliminated in the NY bight in the 1980's by the Haul Seiners and horrible PCB's are what saved the Striped Bass. I saw the whole cycle from the 60's to the 90's and you ain't fooling some kid who doesn't know any better.
 

OVERBORED

New Angler
Jan 6, 2021
85
78
18
One other "small" event that changed the west end forever was Sandy. I'm guessing the many good spots that were lifeless overnight was all the doing of commercials...........

Once again, I dont disagree that some commercial practices hurt certain fisheries but thats not the only reason.
 

Pangaroo

Angler
Jan 15, 2021
107
48
28
The early 1980's will probably be the best fishing period I'll ever experience in my lifetime. That was right after the 200 mile limit was passed and the foreign fleet was kicked out and before the American fleet built up. Reagan gave loans to the commercials to expand and the heart attack scare that prompted everybody to eat fish. The Bays were filled with flounder , you could hop on a West End Party Boat and expect to catch 5-10 nice cod . Whiting and Ling were everywhere. Only Striped Bass were scarce and the Haul Seiners were the reason why.
I miss drifting near the Old Ambrose Tower and catching whiting or fishing in the inlet at slack and catching flounder in March and April. Fishing was so perfectly timed in the NY Bight , some fish moved away and some came in. Spring is only boat work now. and no mackerel!
 

Capt Richie

Angler
Feb 16, 2019
953
536
93
Well, Im a recreational fisherman and I think I disagree with you on most points so there goes your statement that recs are in 100% agreement.

Take the lobster fishery. Once abundant in the western sound, now they are pretty much extinct. Has nothing to do with commercial fishing. Has to do with oxygen levels, runoff and water temps. Lobstermen on the Maine border were seeing record catches.

Take the closed areas on Georges Bank. Closed in the 90s but never really bounced back. How do you explain that?

Blackfishing has never been better on the East End while the West End is a constant grind. Basically a rod and reel fishery. How do you explain that?

I wish eliminating commercial fishing would be the answer to all our fishery problems but it goes much deeper than that!
I have to disagree with MTK having a never better blackfishing if thats what your saying...catches are down & smaller fish being caught..lots of west end commercials fishing their now... but still beats the dead west end...

It's only a matter of time before blackfish is shut down or catch limits make it not worth fishing ..same way giant grouper was shut down in Fla..and now their everywhere ..
 

Pangaroo

Angler
Jan 15, 2021
107
48
28
Whiting were so fun to catch . You let down a mackerel type rig with tubes that were shiney with a squid strip or a small chunk of fish and drifted along like you were fluke fishing. All winter you could catch them and you could catch them into May . Night Whiting fishing on party boats in January was amazing ! Gone !If it was too rough offshore you could spend the day fishing in the bay for flounder. I stay home when it's windy and rough now. No more options. Young anglers never experienced this .
 

Pangaroo

Angler
Jan 15, 2021
107
48
28
I have to disagree with MTK having a never better blackfishing if thats what your saying...catches are down & smaller fish being caught..lots of west end commercials fishing their now... but still beats the dead west end...

It's only a matter of time before blackfish is shut down or catch limits make it not worth fishing ..same way giant grouper was shut down in Fla..and now their everywhere ..
The blackfish poachers know they can catch illegal blackfish and sail back to any dock on Long Island and sell their fish. You ever see the DEC stop a boat going 25 miles an hour and search the boat ? Did you ever get greeted by the DEC at your dock ? I never did. The DEC goes boat to boat checking for short fluke /no licenses in the crowded channels because that's where the fine money is. The poachers know this. Look at the new China Town in Sunset Park Brooklyn and you realize where the illegal blackfish are going.
When Whiting, Ling, Flounder , Cod disappeared in the NY Bight, every recreational /partyboat targeted Blackfish. Shut them down for 20 years. 60 years of overfishing has to stop.
 

Capt Richie

Angler
Feb 16, 2019
953
536
93
The blackfish poachers know they can catch illegal blackfish and sail back to any dock on Long Island and sell their fish. You ever see the DEC stop a boat going 25 miles an hour and search the boat ? Did you ever get greeted by the DEC at your dock ? I never did. The DEC goes boat to boat checking for short fluke /no licenses in the crowded channels because that's where the fine money is. The poachers know this. Look at the new China Town in Sunset Park Brooklyn and you realize where the illegal blackfish are going.
When Whiting, Ling, Flounder , Cod disappeared in the NY Bight, every recreational /partyboat targeted Blackfish. Shut them down for 20 years. 60 years of overfishing has to stop.
Yes I have been checked on my boat & with other commercials when blackfishing by the DEC..and I know commercials who were checked at their dock ..and its not only china town or flushing ..I know that live blackfish go to Chicago ..
 

OVERBORED

New Angler
Jan 6, 2021
85
78
18
I wholeheartedly agree on the poachers. Poachers and more importantly, those buying from poachers should get steep fines!

They make things worse for the legit pinhookers who try to scratch out a living.

You think commercial fishing is what caused the flounder in Quincy Bay to disappear?
 

Old Mud

Well-Known Angler
Dec 31, 2018
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While i think this whole thread makes good reading. These sort of discussions do bring out some passionate responses. Unfortunately their is nothing anyone here can/will do about it. We all know NMFS is a Government entity. No one to answer to/ no accountability. I have seen some of their decisions made in the past using their "Best available science" fall on their face. Now i'm not saying there always wrong, but...

Anyway what the author ,Patric Whittle left out about the Cod catch in 2020 was this. A nearly closed season with a 1 fish bag limit would account for a lower catch.

IMHO, This is one Major factor that the "Maine Cod fishery posted the smallest catch in history in 2020.


Possession Limit: 1 fish. Minimum Size: 21 inches (53.34 cm) Open season (Private): September 15 - 30, April 1 - 14. Open Season (For-Hire) September 8 – October 7, April 1 - 14.Aug 13, 2020
 

Roccus7

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 22, 2018
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While i think this whole thread makes good reading. These sort of discussions do bring out some passionate responses. Unfortunately their is nothing anyone here can/will do about it. We all know NMFS is a Government entity. No one to answer to/ no accountability. I have seen some of their decisions made in the past using their "Best available science" fall on their face. Now i'm not saying there always wrong, but...

Anyway what the author ,Patric Whittle left out about the Cod catch in 2020 was this. A nearly closed season with a 1 fish bag limit would account for a lower catch.

IMHO, This is one Major factor that the "Maine Cod fishery posted the smallest catch in history in 2020.


Possession Limit: 1 fish. Minimum Size: 21 inches (53.34 cm) Open season (Private): September 15 - 30, April 1 - 14. Open Season (For-Hire) September 8 – October 7, April 1 - 14.Aug 13, 2020
Far be it for me to disagree, but I'm pretty sure the article was referring to the commercial landings and the Portland Fish Exchange.

“We had a pretty lean year,” said Jodie York, general manager of Portland Fish Exchange, a Maine auction house. “It really is in large part due to the pandemic.”

Regardless, there was NO recreational fishing at all in 2017 & 18, so even if the 2020 numbers had recreational numbers, it was still a dismal year.
 
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Old Mud

Well-Known Angler
Dec 31, 2018
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Far be it for me to disagree, but I'm pretty sure the article was referring to the commercial landings and the Portland Fish Exchange.

“We had a pretty lean year,” said Jodie York, general manager of Portland Fish Exchange, a Maine auction house. “It really is in large part due to the pandemic.”

Regardless, there was NO recreational fishing at all in 2017 & 18, so even if the 2020 numbers had recreational numbers, it was still a dismal year.
Oh my bad i took that as referring to landings as a whole. I'm not saying it wasn't a dismal year by any means. But as jodie said the pandemic didn't help the Rec's. or the Comms. I know no one that targeted Cod last year. Most of the for hire fleet that i know of didn't even go. Sad indeed.
 
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Roccus7

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Dec 22, 2018
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Yup @Old Mud , like we both know, many Maine boats land their fish in MA!!!

Letter to the Editor: Many Maine boats land their catch in Massachusetts​

pressherald.com/2021/04/19/4-7-hudson-mary-maine-fishing-communities-2/

April 19, 2021

The article in the April Portland Press Herald, “Maine cod fishery posted smallest catch in history in 2020,”needs further exploration to understand what is truly happening on our working waterfront.

1. Groundfish (species like cod, haddock, and flounder) are managed under a cap-and-trade system which limits landings. For species that are rebuilding, the allowed catch is set low. For abundant species, more catch is allowed. This creates incentives for fishermen to avoid fish like cod and target healthy stocks.

2. It is not just cod landings that are down in Maine but most other fish as well. For many stocks, the issue is not the health of the resource, it is an amalgam of factors including COVID-19, low market demand, Maine regulations prohibiting lobster catch on groundfish boats, and a lack of infrastructure on our waterfronts.

3. The Maine Coast Community Sector represents over 60 groundfish fishermen from around the state. Of our active Maine vessels, half land in Massachusetts. For the large boats, Maine does not currently have the capacity to offload and process the volume of fish they catch. For the small boats, prices tend to be better in Massachusetts, fishermen can supplement their groundfish income by landing lobster, and facilities offer more flexible services to fit their weather-driven schedules.

These Maine boats land millions of pounds of groundfish elsewhere and until we address the market, policy, and infrastructure issues we face in Maine, our fishing communities, and the revenue they generate, will continue to drift south.

Mary Hudson
Sector Manager
Maine Coast Community Sector
Brunswick
 
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OVERBORED

New Angler
Jan 6, 2021
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Its ironic, with all the modern computer models and all the technology, fisheries experts still struggle with the basics.
 
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Roccus7

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Dec 22, 2018
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Its ironic, with all the modern computer models and all the technology, fisheries experts still struggle with the basics.

Computers are fine, it's the "Garbage In / Garbage Out" paradigm. Classic statistical random sampling doesn't work will with fisheries and the "science" is starting to migrate away from this, albeit at a painfully slow rate.

A reliable fisheries model is on the order of weather modeling, one of the two most complicated models in existence which need the world's largest computers because of the THOUSANDS of data inputs to feed the model, and the results of those models are often off-base too.
 

Old Mud

Well-Known Angler
Dec 31, 2018
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To add to what Mary said many of our winter lobster fishermen /offshore, land in Mass. Even with extra cost of permits it pays. That and the major factor i think is they can land the larger lobsters. It's also a quicker turn around to Georges. It's pretty hard to be throwing those 5" + lobsters back.

OOPS, off tract with Lobsters.
 

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