Emergency Action Affects Cod and Haddock Fishing

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. 


More Info: Portland Press Herald: New Restrictions to Essentially Prevent Cod Fishing…

23 on “Emergency Action Affects Cod and Haddock Fishing

  1. dave

    sad , but this species is way over fished. people dont get mad when stripers are getting regulated (yes people eat them, But cod are more of a staple) why shouldnt we protect a resourcce for the future?

    1. Rob

      If you’re going to put restrictions in place. Restrict the draggers! They are decimating the ocean floor and sucking everything up that is eventually discarded as byproduct that is illegal to keep and ultimately dead when thrown back.
      Give the stocks a fighting chance!

      1. c.c

        Couldn’t agree more…. I feel bad for those who make a living working on draggers. But those type of fishing needs to stop! I was able to witness the amount of waste up close this summer. I was amazed the amount of dead fish shoveled overboard…. All governed by the almighty dollar. It’s a shame!

    2. Donald trump

      I king trump decate that there is zero overfishing anywhere nor is there hobsl watminh
      Paid for by chevron oil , eccon – mobil , and toyal dutch shell
      Along with saydi arabia , auayer , iraq , iran , dubai , and iran , and kuwait

  2. Stephen Chastain

    Inevitably, the population of fish we consume in the ocean is going to decline. Whether due to over-harvesting, or the fact that pollution in the ocean only allows those that are genetically tolerant to survive, we need to culture these ocean species on land in facilities and release them at the appropriate time to bolster populations of wild species. It is the only way, since we cannot reverse global warming. We might as well help population sizes in nature by increasing them artificially, if we let the natural trends continue there won’t be much left in 20 years.

    1. Jim

      They hatch and release fish in lakes, they have released fish into the ocean in the past. Today they think releasing fish into the ocean would be a waste of time and money. The thing about baby cod is what a baby cod eats== a certain type of plankton is no in the ocean like it was, so baby cod have nothing to eat. If a baby cod was grown enough it can eat something other than the plankton that is not there.

    2. Bill Adamonis

      Global warming? What planet do you live on? I refuse to stop catching and eating cod. They better have environmental police all over the place. Actually, they probably will.

  3. jason

    This is bullsh!t. Now while they close it to recs I suppose they will continue to allow the commercial daggers to rape the fishery while destroying the bottom habbitat. Something needs to be done about this board that is all about commercial interests
    Sad day.

  4. Robert

    Commercial fishing on middle bank is closed indefinitely. If you think this is all about sticking it to the recreational guys please think again as many decent hardworking people are about to lose everything they have worked for. This isn’t about recreational Vs commercial. This is about the codfish (and there are quite a few of them out there now, but this will only help the stocks). I fish commercially and recreationally and for the first time we are seeing accountability to the recreational side of the fishery. The reason it is closed to recreational and charter fisheries is because they have repeatedly gone way over their allotted share of the fish. Also it is important to note they have historically been allowed to fish in protected (from commercial fisheries) areas. I am in support of this measure to help replenish the resource. If we want to be serious about it, then it needs to be something everyone is accountable for, not just the commercial guys. In Gadus Morhua we trust.

    1. Ron

      Are you crazy, recreational & charter fisheries going over their allotted share, PLEASE give me a break. I’m not saying that some don’t go over, but it is minor compared to the dead-kill that commercial fishing throws back after they have their allotted share. They get their share and what ever is left they throw back, so that they do not have to pay a fine. Hundreds of pounds of fish dumped back dead

    2. C-Han

      The people that went over the limit before, will probably continue to do the same thing. So reducing the recreational limit probably won’t do anything.

  5. Josh

    This really is a sad day. It is very unlikely that our children will be able to enjoy any part of the cod fishery that we have. The commercial interests on the Council absolutely need to be balanced. Unfortunately recreational anglers have contributed as well. I’ve witnessed fisherman raping some of the last remaining spawning aggregations before the regulators stepped in WAY too late.

  6. Bill

    Meanwhile, for the first time in 40 years, it almost seems like the Block Island Sound/Rhode Island Sound codfish are rebounding slightly. This is the future of the Gulf of Maine/Bank cod. There won’t be enough fish to support a fishery, so it will all but disappear. If we’re lucky, 30 or 40 years from now, there might be a recovered fishery.

  7. Greg Kidd

    “To soften the blow, federal regulators are doubling the commercial haddock quota from 676,812 pounds to about 1.3 million pounds.” Portland Press Herald 11/11/14
    What nonsense, cod will be caught right along with the haddock. Increase of haddock caught will mean an increase of cod caught and then discarded dead! IMO this is not a recreational vs. commercial fishery issue but one of fairness. Currently commercial interest are allowed to take 10,000 lbs – 16 inch minimum haddock/ trip and recreational be limited to the 3 fish minimum 21″; how is this fair?

  8. Derrick Dunstable

    The real question is why anyone is still surprised by this incompetence, and the resulting catastrophic decimation of this species…this fishery has been mismanaged for DECADES. All things considered, it’s a miracle that we have any real mentionable and fishable ground fish stocks left to even engage in the argument of quotas, limits and harvest.

    Also not going to mention the primary reason for this, nor blame the chief culprits for most of this decline, because that’s even been beating to death. I would think by now that the argument against using outdated and primitive fishing gear, that destroys the ocean floor environment and has a high by-catch mortality, would be an obvious clean cut fact, and something not open for further debate, but welcome to New England and it’s counterproductive political/legislative bodies.

    What I would encourage these legislative bodies, politicians and those commercial (yes, and recreational at this point) hard heads to do is this:

    (1) Go to YouTube.
    (2) In the search engine, type the words “Norway”, “codfish” and “sport fishing”.
    (3) Watch endless clips of 50-100 lb. codfish being caught, rod and reel.
    (4) Acknowledge that yes, we can have fish that size and that abundant here in the GOM too, if we just take our head out of our ass.
    (5) Take notes on habitat preservation and fishery management.
    (6) Get back to us with real mimicking measures to save our ground fish stocks.

    Either that, or live with with the Grand Banks style cemetery you beaurocrats created off of our coast, as well as the fallout of fishery jobs, recreational fishing dollars, and a lost opportunity to do something right for a change.

    By if it comes to that, at least spare us the “we tried everything, but nothing seems to work” argument. Otherwise, you will be more pathetic than those 300+ lb. people I see – who munch on donuts and pizza all day and avoid the gym – and then use that same whiney excuse.

  9. Jeff

    Why would any body that fishes for pleasure only, want to spend A near fortune to buy or take A charter boat out fishing for such A low insane catch limit? There is not much left on this planet we can do that is not being taxed and or regulated to no end. Leave it up to Government over reach and those paid by them to destroy one more of life”s simple free pleasures. OHH, Let me guess the punch lines. The taxes are less than A cup of coffee per day (365 day per year) and its for the Children.

  10. Opus X

    I agree with derrick they need to stop destroying the ocean bottom and dumping bycatch from the draggers

  11. Bob Aiello

    Is everyone insane. I still don’t get how recreational fishermen are decimating the cod population. I fish outside Boston Harbor out to Stellwagen. This summer on any given day I have not seen more than a dozen boats fishing for cod around Boston. At Stellwagen it is even lighter traffic. Where are all these so called rec boats fishing and doing their overcatching. These are all fairy tale stories and inflated accounts to make the figures work for the fed govt. I am sad that the few party boats and charters are being forced out of business to “save” the cod population. What a bunch of #@$###. I don’t have anything against commercial fishing other than somehow they are trying to compare what the rec guys are taking on the same level. We have to haul them in one at a time. Don’t think I’ll be taking 10,000 lbs on a day trip. It would take 4 guys per boat and 55 boats having a banner day on (limits) of 5 lb cod to equal a 10,000 lb haul. Or for a party boat with 40 guys on board doing the same (limiting out) it would take 5.5 trips. When was the last time saw everyone on a party boat limiting out. Also the bycatch is very limited for non-commercial guys. I think we are mixing apples and oranges lumping these two fisheries together.
    Just another sideline. Remember not too long ago they put limits on dogfish commercial catches (have no idea why since there are plenty to go around). After they did this there were even more dogfish preventing some of us from getting to the cod. Am I foolish to think that the many dogfish that were protected could be eating small cod, cod eggs, and food that cod would otherwise have eaten possibly doing more damage than us humans are supposedly doing. Just a thought, you never hear about these natural happenings, only global warming, overfishing, pollution etc. Give me back September and October.

  12. Ben

    I was really excited about going out to Jeffrey’s Ledge again in 2015. At the age of 63 I finally bought a boat that I can go beyond the bays with. I’ll be 65 in Feb. 2015 and this would be my third year to enjoy real deep sea fishing. I have a lot of new fishing gear on my, Bass Pro, wish list for Christmas but I am now reluctant to make any purchase because of the limitations on the recreational fisherman. I also wonder if I should just give up the sport and sell my boat. “What I spend for a little enjoyment, is it worth it ??”

  13. Gary J.

    The travesty of the whole Gulf Of Maine bottom fishery is the fact that fair and equitable regulations for both commercial and recreational fishermen were not imposed thirty years ago when we actually had the chance to preserve the fishery. I recall catching and seeing pool winning cod of fifty and sixty pounds on a regular basis. Then the catch weights declined to the forties, thirties, twenties and and now to the present level of market size and scrod fish we sometimes get today. Technology in fish finding and location electronics have given whats left of the fish no place to hide except in the closed areas. We are victims of our own success, greed and wastefulness both on the recreational and commercial side. I do not begrudge the commercial fisherman for making a living from the sea or the recreational fishermen who wants to enjoy the sport and secure a few fillets for the table as both factions have made considerable investments in boats and gear. I do not believe that size limits are the answer as the throwback ratios of small fish and mortality rates are too high. Everything that comes over the rail or up in the nets should be utilized or marketed with the appropriate bag limits or weights as required by regulation. Most of us would gladly fry up a one pound trout. Whats’s wrong with frying up a two pound cod or haddock ? We must stop the waste and high grading first. Only then will there be enough fish left to sustain themselves. The oceans have awesome recuperative powers and our beloved cod are one of the most prolific species in New England. All one has to do is look to Boston Harbor to see what has happened there in the last twenty years as this fishery has rebounded and and the waters purged of contaminants. This is going to be a very painful and bitter pill for all of us who fish, are in the marine trades or shore side industries to swallow and some will fall by the wayside but we must take the cure now. When we can spike a rod on a winter beach again and catch a few cod, we will know that the stock is recovering, that we have arrived and saved the mighty cod.

  14. Greg

    Outstanding range of replies & commentary! I Love the Passion.
    The very bottom line is the entire resource, the Entire Environment has been horribly abused, for a very long time, in the most careless manner possible. The sizeable game fish everyone so laments not being able to pursue any longer are only one link on the chain of life , made of hundreds of links, & that depends on every link on that Chain for survival.
    This has all been a very long time in coming. We should all just be Thankful there is enough grit left to try to do something to change the course of the declines while there might still be time to do so.
    If this long rape of a environment had taken place anywhere above the waterline – these issues of species decline due to human harvesting would have long ago been stopped by shear public outcry (because if above the waterline – it can so easily been seen and counted).
    We do not have the right to take, & take, & take, without giving back.
    We have an obligation to conduct ourselves as stewards.

    The days of thinking the world has limitless bounty is an illusion for a past time, and has no place in a enlightened society.

  15. John

    This is not about picking sides its about management of a natural resource.The last trip i took to the gulf of Maine was over 20 years ago and the fishing was unbelievable,cod,pollack,wolffish and purple hake and all species where in abundance.The decline of these species and the ocean floor is a direct result of draggers,the content and size of what they are allowed to keep must be changed before the devastation of oceans continues.By catch that is wasted and the proliferation of species must end before there will be nothing to fish for

  16. EddyPetch

    Recreational fisherman from Western Mass: there is a small pond down the road where my son catches and releases the same (stupid) bass once a week. We know it is the same one because of a scar on its back. Is the Recreational fisherman’s catch and release mortality rate really 50 percent?

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