Canadian Perspective on Atlantic Cod Stocks & Management

CFOODLast week we released a two part feature on the status of Atlantic cod stocks. Click here  Part was a general overview of the status of stocks while Part 2 dove deeper into the reasons behind different statuses.

Jeffrey Hutchings, a fishery scientist at Dalhousie University was inspired to comment on our CFOOD feature below;

Despite voluminous research, science discussions of Atlantic cod can verge on the simplistic. Overfishing and ‘the environment’ unhelpfully portrayed as alternative or additive causes of decline. Temperature presented unequivocally as the driver of recruitment. Variable attention to how differential responses to natural and human-induced environmental stressors can be influenced by basic elements of demography — population size, age structure, natural mortality — especially when these fall outside a population’s norm. The collapse of Northern cod was unprecedented but the low temperatures that cod experienced prior to collapse were not (it has been as cold, or colder, if one’s temporal horizon extends beyond the mid 20th Century for this 500-year-old fishery). Recruitment failure is not affecting the recovery of some depleted stocks, such as Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence cod, but altered predator-prey interactions – predicated by prolonged overfishing – almost certainly are. Not all northeast Atlantic cod are doing well, as the current status of those along the Norwegian coast will attest. Read the rest here 14:07