Gentlemen "Hold onto your butts": CLF petitions NOAA for a total ban on Northeast Cod Fishing!!

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Petition to NOAA calls for prohibition on cod fishing

By Doug Fraser

Posted Feb 13, 2020 at 8:05 AMUpdated Feb 13, 2020 at 2:51 PM

The Conservation Law Foundation petitioned the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association Thursday morning to prohibit fishing of Atlantic cod until such time as the federal agency implements measures that will end overfishing.

The petition, filed with NOAA Fisheries regional offices in Gloucester and with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in Washington, invokes the first article of the Magnuson Stevens Act, the law governing federal fisheries, which stipulates that overfishing must end immediately and that the fish stock be rebuilt as quickly as possible.

“There’s a fairly damning record of the agency (NOAA Fisheries, also known as the National Marine Fisheries Service) approving (New England Fishery Management) Council plans it should have known were not likely to end overfishing, and were not likely to put cod stocks on any rebuilding timeline,” said Peter Shelley, senior counsel for the foundation.

Cod management is divided into two genetically distinct stocks, one found largely on Georges Bank and the other in the Gulf of Maine.

The Gulf of Maine cod stock is at historically low population levels despite decades of stringent efforts to rebuild it. The Georges Bank stock is also considered overfished, and scientists believe it too is at historically low population numbers.

Cod were once considered one of the most prolific fish in the ocean off New England shores. In the 1800s, fishermen were landing around 45,000 metric tons (mt) of Georges Bank cod and 17,000 mt of Gulf of Maine cod. With more efficient and powerful vessels, fishermen in the 1980s and early 1990s landed over 60,000 mt of Georges Bank cod and as much as 20,000 mt of Gulf of Maine cod.

Entire Cape Cod Times article posted below...
 

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