Marine experts: Gulf of Maine has become a cod-forsaken place, endangering all fisheries

“Big fish are ecologically extinct,” Steneck said of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem. “They’re not absent … but in terms of an ecological presence, they’re extinct.” The same warmer ocean temperatures that have helped push cod populations north, Steneck said, have provided lobster with a deeper range in which to settle their larva. Sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic were the highest ever recorded in 2012, following years of historically rapid warming.

“We had a big red hake fishery 30 or 40 years ago,” testified veteran Rhode Island fisherman Rodman Sykes during a morning panel discussion. “We’d fill our boats with them. … We didn’t know where they went. I learned today they came up here [to Maine].” [email protected]

 

3 Responses to Marine experts: Gulf of Maine has become a cod-forsaken place, endangering all fisheries

  1. carminegorga says:

    Apart from important details,is not this another manifestation of the predator/prey model?

  2. M. Ben-Yami says:

    The historical dwarfish of cod (and other fishes) can be ascribed to many generations of consistent selective fishing that lets smaller and younger fish go, while focusing on all the larger fish, This reduces the age and size of the breeders and, consequently, of their spawn. With time, those of the growth-controlling genes that give preference to early spawning and smaller individuals – prevail in the population.
    MB-Y

  3. Dick Grachek says:

    Absolutely agree MB-Y,Thank you for addressing this management folly. Maximum “Sustainable” Yield approach actually works against stock health because it is the large slower growing fish that stabilize a stock. MSY by focusing on counting recruits and bartering their numbers for balancing out the taking of older larger fish renders populations consisting mainly of relatively small young fast growing fish—faster growth rate, looks good on fish stock health reports, looks like the stock is improving rapidly, but faster-growth means greater oscillations and greater unpredictability over the long run. A healthy stock is a stock with a stable slower-growing multi-year class population—not a hoard of stunted confused rampaging adolescents eating themselves out of house and home.

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