Fishermen obeyed their quotas, so why did Maine cod stocks collapse?

NOAA ScientistDr. Andrew Pershing from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI), lead author of the study released Thursday in Science, explained for the first time why cod stocks in the Gulf of Maine have decreased to 3 to 4 percent of sustainable levels, despite numerous harvesting restrictions in 2010 by fisheries managers. Fisheries published strict quota limits for fishermen without accounting for ocean warming in the Gulf of Maine,,, By not accounting for such an influential change, fisheries set quota ceilings that were too high and inadvertently endorsed severe overfishing. Read the rest here  13:09

One Response to Fishermen obeyed their quotas, so why did Maine cod stocks collapse?

  1. Ec Newell Man says:

    It is always interesting to read an “opinion” piece and the view of those who write them, and then the reader sits back and thinks about what the author has stated… “climate change is the culprit that has brought the cod stock to this point in the Gulf of Maine and what fishermen are allowed to catch, their quota, is not reflected by this.”

    To wit:

    “Warm waters inhibit cod reproduction and young spawn survival. “Our hypothesis is that feeding patterns for larvae have changed so fewer may have survived, and the warm water could make the young fish more available to predators,” Pershing explains. “The [quota] system is not
    designed to look at these systems and factors.”

    Hmmmm… does wonder when the first European settlers (interlopers if you embrace leftist ideology) came upon one Plymouth Rock, created the first colony and lived off the bountiful New England landscape. Since that time, a period covering over four centuries, we haven’t seen one documented – distinct period of time when the waters in the Gulf of Maine, haven’t heated up a few degrees, causing the GOM cod stock to crash and now all of a sudden this has occurred right now for what climate change talking heads are saying, “for the very first time?” Wouldn’t one think there were time periods over 400 years when it did get warmer then usual in the GOMaine, thus warming coastal waters north of Cape Cod?

    Wouldn’t one then ask if this just has nothing to do with “removals” that being cod harvested, exceeding “replacement” or successful recruitment of various year classes of cod in New England waters over the decades?

    How come no scientist who has studied cod off our coast to explain the noticeable numbers of cod caught over 15 lbs off the shores of New York and New Jersey, along with the amount of codfish being caught off the Eastern Shore of Delaware and Maryland? Aren’t the waters that much warmer south of Cape Cod…a noticeable few degrees warmer then around and north of Cape Cod?

    Sure we recognize there is stock shifting north and eastward in this region. Waters have become a few degrees warmer…its apparent. But it is highly doubtful that this trend is something unique to the times we live in, especially when compared to a period since the early 1600’s.

    It also makes one think….what happened to those years when the waters around the Mid-Atlantic and New England, were that much cooler then normal. There were periods of time in the 20th century when just that happened and one could think to this one particular period during World War II and throughout the 1940’s of unusually cold and frigid weather, and notable snow storms showing snow piled high above ones head? Doesn’t exceedingly cooler then normal water temps, inhibit successful cod spawning? Seems not.

    Again, why are there are so many cod south and west of the waters of Rhode Island? Why do they come here…and stay here…and are caught here on days during the summer where you catch mahi-mahi, on the same fishing grounds where you see codfish? An outlier from some broken off school of Georges Bank codfish that continue to travel this way over the last decade? Go west to warmer waters instead of north to cooler waters?

    Shouldn’t those codfish seek out the waters and conditions where they traditionally are known they should be? Why has haddock stocks rebounded to the highest measured levels during this same period? Shouldn’t haddock be as effected by warming waters in the Gulf of Maine? Seems there are more in memory now…if you could retain them.

    I will close with this, and I wish I could post a picture of a codfish caught in the Gulf of Maine in 2015 that was reported to be over 20lbs. One looks at the picture of a long and very lean cod that happened to take a bait meant for some other bottom resident in the GOM. But the picture was not unlike others of codfish caught in the GOM as most look exceedingly “lean” in the belly area, unlike the porkers seen on Georges, Nantucket or further west of southern New England waters. Why?

    Yes there is something going on within the Gulf of Maine, and saying that warming waters are the cause, makes you wonder when codfish can seek out the cooler depths of 300 feet or more in most parts of the GOM. Maybe it is something more than warming waters, but I doubt few want to hear about it here.

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