No Shrimp And Cod Fishing In Maine This Year

reposted from Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors

photo courtesy of The Penobscott Marine Museum

Large areas of the Gulf of Maine will be closed to cod fishing, federal regulators announced last week. The closures, now in effect, are in response to continuing declines in the cod fish population.

The closure adds salt to an already sore wound. Last week, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s northern shrimp section decided to cancel the 2015 fishing season for Gulf of Maine shrimp. This make the second year shrimp fishing in the Gulf of Maine has been called off. The 2014 spring shrimp survey showed the shrimp population for this year is at its lowest level in 31 years, worse than last year, according to the committee. The report blames rising ocean temperatures for the decline.

Meanwhile, fishing for other species with groundfish gear also will be banned in the cod closure area covering the western Gulf of Maine, according to local news reports.

John Bullard, Northeast regional fisheries administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told the Bangor Daily News that the cod population is in a “free fall” and that the number of cod “is only 3% to 4% of levels deemed sustainable for the stock.”

“We believe protecting these remaining aggregations of fish provide our best chance to prevent a cod stock collapse and a complete fishery closure,” Bullard said. “We want to avoid the situation that Canada found itself in when its cod stock [on the Grand Banks off Newfoundland] collapsed in the 1990s.”

Caption: The photo above from the collection of the Penobscot Marine Marine Museum shows fishing back in the day when cod were plentiful.