Today the National Marine Fisheries Service announced an Emergency Action to institute needed protections for what is left of Gulf of Maine Cod. The action will go into effect this Thursday (November 13, 2014). The action includes multiple measures that significantly affect not only recreational fishing, but the many businesses and jobs that support recreational fishing for cod, haddock, pollock, etc.
Some of the major details include:
A zero possession limit of Cod in the Gulf of Maine until at least May 1, 2015. (Similarly devastating permanent actions are still being developed.)
Massive areas outside of state waters closed to all “gear capable of catching ground fish,” which includes all recreational bottom fishing.
Due to by-catch and discard mortality related to fishing for both cod and haddock, only a very small haddock limit of either two or three haddock will be allowed outside the closed areas.
It is truly a sad day. Our recreational community should be angry. Of the FIVE seats on the New England Fishery Management Council currently held by Massachusetts, NOT ONE is held by a recreational community representative. The Massachusetts Striped Bass Association (MSBA) will publish a more comprehensive review and will also be passing along plenty of information in the coming days, weeks and months. MSBA will be working with other recreational fishery leaders to organize effective means for our members and other anglers to turn our collective anger into effective actions. Stay tuned.
-Patrick Paquette is the acting Vice Chair of the New England Council’s Recreational Advisory Panel and the chair of the MSBA’s Government Affairs Committee.