Tag Archives: cod

CLF says nothing short of an end to directed fishing – Another cut in cod fishing not enough for environmentalists

Fishing regulators are proposing another cutback to the catch limits for Atlantic cod, but some environmentalists say the move isn’t significant enough to slow the loss of the species. Atlantic cod fishing was once one of the biggest marine industries in New England, but the fishery has deteriorated after years of overfishing and environmental changes. Fishermen caught less than 2 million pounds of the fish in 2017, decades after routinely catching more than 100 million pounds annually in the early 1980s. It was the worst year for the fishery in its history. >click to read< 10:31

The Gulf of Maine cod fishery is in rough shape. The fishermen aren’t doing much better.

In December of 2011, five days before Christmas, cod fishermen in the Gulf of Maine received a letter from government regulators.,,, Over the next four years, catch limits would decrease by more than 95 percent, disrupting the lives and livelihoods of fishermen across New England.  Since 2013, researchers from Northeastern have been working with these fishing communities to understand how the failure of the cod fishery affected the fishermen’s well-being. >click to read< 09:24

Bruce Tarr: Ground Fishing rules don’t match industry realities

The federal government on Wednesday released data showing that cod stocks in the area remain overfished and are not on target to be rebuilt by 2024. “Abundance is very low, not the way it used to be, so that’s obviously of great concern to us,” said Division of Marine Fisheries Director David Pierce,,, Calling the report “concerning,” Sen. Bruce Tarr, “I’m still reading through the details  but I think it points to the fact that we should be doing things differently than we are today.” Tarr said there’s “too much regulatory discard” of cod “and there’s mortality that’s being caused by a set of rules that don’t recognize the practical reality of groundfishing.” >click to read< 19:32

North Sea cod loses Marine Stewardship Council label as population halves in just two years

North Sea cod, a staple for the UK’s fishing industry, has lost its sustainable status, after stocks were found to have almost halved in the last two years. Cod caught around the UK received the “blue tick” sustainability label in 2017, when stocks of the fish were put at around 152,207 tonnes – its highest level since 1982. However, new advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) puts the stocks at only 81,224 tonnes – more than 100 tonnes less than predicted. >click to read< 16:51

Outside buyers allowed in cod market as fishermen protest in St. John’s, Old Perlican

Buyers from outside the province will have a 14-day window to purchase cod from Newfoundland and Labrador harvesters, Gerry Byrne’s announcement comes as members of the The Fish Food And Allied Workers Union set up on the waterfront in St. John’s Monday morning, giving their cod catches away for free to protest what they say is a processors’ refusal to buy it. Union members are also protesting outside the Royal Greenland plant in Old Perlican, and the FFAW said it submitted an official request to Byrne Monday morning, asking that outside buyers be allowed into the market. >click to read< 16:48

A cod quality experiment in Bonavista: From 1984, how longliners were trying to improve fish quality

In 1985, Newfoundland and Labrador’s government brought in fish quality regulations that applied across the province. But a year earlier, those regulations were being put into place in Bonavista — sometimes successfully, sometimes controversially. That experiment was the focus of this 1984 archival episode of Land & Sea, which you can view below.  Those rules — which included stipulations on how fish would be processed at sea and a grading system — were meant to improve the quality, and therefore the price, of fish caught off the province’s shores. Similar quality regulations had been in place in Iceland and Norway in the 1920s. Video’s, >click to read< 13:19

Cod Populations Might be Losing a Migration ‘Supergene’

North Atlantic cod populations haven’t just decreased in number during the last century — their genetic diversity has plunged, too, which could ultimately impede cod from traveling long distances, according to a new study published in the June 26 issue of Science Advances. In particular, overfishing, climate change or a combination of factors may have led to the loss of a closely-linked group of genes — a “supergene” — associated with migratory behavior. Absence of this supergene may interfere with the cod’s ecological niche and could make populations more vulnerable to future collapse. Researchers investigated genetic variation in Northern cod around the Canadian province of Newfoundl,,, >click to read<15:23

This discovery could be the key to managing New England’s cod population

Although the species is managed as a single population, cod in the Gulf of Maine can be divided into two genetically-distinct groups. And according to a new study, understanding the unique behavior and lifecycles of these two groups may be the key to creating a better management strategy. “The current stock assessments for Gulf of Maine cod assume that the population is one single, homogeneous unit,” Dean says. “All stock assessment models have to make gross oversimplifications. But sometimes those simplifications can create inaccuracies.” click to read<21:39

Small rebound for N.L.’s northern cod, but stock still in critical zone

A federal report released Tuesday said northern cod’s spawning stock biomass — fish that can reproduce — was higher than predicted last year, representing a four-per-cent bump from 2018. The stock is currently assessed at 48 per cent of the limit reference point, meaning it is about halfway out of the fisheries department’s “critical” zone. Biologist Karen Dwyer of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) said this year’s rise surpassed negative projections after further study of 2017’s mortality numbers. (she’s wrong about the seals) >click to read<19:04

Cod fishery plummets to least valuable year since 1960s

Maine’s cod fishery, once one of the most lucrative in the Northeast, has declined to the point that it had its least valuable year in more than a half-century in 2018. The state’s industry harvesting the fish-and-chips staple goes back centuries, and it once brought millions of pounds of the fish to land year after year. But data from the state Department of Marine Resources indicate the state’s cod were worth just over $200,000 at the docks last year — less than the median price of a single-family home in Maine. >click to read<09:56

EDITORIAL: Ocean imbalance

Fisheries scientists, writing in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, suggest that the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence cod stock may be extinct by 2050, because cod five years old and older now face an annual mortality rate of 50 per cent. The stock was already hit hard by the fishery, and collapsed in the 1990s. But it’s still not rebounding, even after years of limited fishing, and the scientists suggest that could be because the cod congregate to spawn, and are easy targets for the Gulf grey seal population, whose numbers have grown from around 6,000 in the 1960s to 100,000 in 2014. >click to read<08:20

Oceanographers produce first-ever images of entire cod shoals

For the most part, the mature Atlantic cod is a solitary creature that spends most of its time far below the ocean’s surface, grazing on bony fish, squid, crab, shrimp, and lobster—unless it’s spawning season, when the fish flock to each other by the millions,forming enormous shoals that resemble frenzied, teeming islands in the sea. >click to read<14:33

Canada, U.S. agree on quota cuts on Georges Bank, “significant concerns” with assessment methods

Canada and the United States have agreed to sharply reduce quotas for two key groundfish stocks on their shared Georges Bank fishing grounds off southern Nova Scotia. A joint transboundary government and industry panel is recommending a 25 per cent cut in haddock and a 32 per cent cut for cod in 2019. Co-chair Alain d’Entremont of Scotia Harvest Inc. in Nova Scotia, says there are concerns the huge numbers of haddock hatched in 2013 did not survive or were overestimated in the first place.,,, D’Entremont says predictions based on models have proven inaccurate when later checked against what actually occurred in the fishery. >click to read<08:55

New England: Centuries-old cod fishery had worst year in history in 2017

One of the most historic fisheries in the country hit an all-time low last year as cod fishermen continued to struggle with choking quotas and low abundance of the fish. Maine’s cod fishery has existed since at least the early 17th century, and it was once one of the strongest in the country. The fishery peaked at more than 21 million pounds of cod, a fish often used with the fish and chips dish, in 1991.,,, One reason for the collapse is that federal quotas for cod are so low many fishermen are just avoiding them altogether, said Terry Alexander, a veteran fisherman out of Portland and Boston. Cod fishermen typically also seek other species, such as haddock and flounder, and they must stop fishing altogether once they reach quota for cod, per the rules. >click to read<11:15

How Iceland Beat the British in the Four Cod Wars

In Icelandic, they were known as Þorskastríðin, “the cod strife,” or Landhelgisstríðin, “the wars for the territorial waters.” In English, they were simply “the Cod Wars.” Between the late 1940s and 1976, the two island nations of Iceland and the United Kingdom all but declared war—despite the fact that there were almost no casualties, and the former had no army. In the frigid waters between these two nations, four confrontations took place between Great Britain, a world superpower, and Iceland, a microstate of just a few hundred thousand people. Each time, Iceland won. And it all happened because of cod—and the right to fish it. These were the Cod Wars. >click to read<08:56

For the Love of Cod – the fight over fish stocks may well spell the end of cod fishers—or cod

A hard exhale escapes Sherrylynn Rowe before she can help herself. “It was so disappointing,” she says. A Canadian federal government report, released in March 2018, showed that the number of northern cod of spawning age in the Canadian North Atlantic was down 30 percent from just last year. It was a devastating turn. Northern cod had been fished to near extinction in the early 1990s and it had started to look like they were finally beginning to rebound. But now the population—which had been expected to increase again this year—was shrinking fast, brought on by an unexpectedly high rate of natural deaths. >click to read<07:53

DFO scientists clarify the decline of cod

In a province where the fishery is foundational to its survival, the decline in cod stocks has many worried and searching for clear answers. This announcement was a particular shock as the same assessment in 2016 predicted a considerable increase in cod numbers for this year. But scientists and harvesters who had noted the declines in the cod’s food source, and the many starving fish of last year’s cod fishery, were not as surprised. Research scientist with the department of Fisheries and Oceans Dr. Mariano Koen-Alonso says the sudden and sharp decline in cod stock is something being seen across the ecosystem. >click to read<11:30

Could a seal cull help cod recover? It’s not so simple, scientist says

The equation seems simple: seals eat fish, fish are declining, kill the seals, fish recover. But experts warn that many factors need to be considered before drastic measures are taken. With talk revived about ending the recreational fishery, some believe a seal would be a more effective way to help cod stocks recover. But is a cull the answer to our fish stock problem? (HELL YEAH!) Eldred Woodford of the Canadian Sealers Association is taking an even stronger stance, and calling for an all-out seal cull.,, Alejandro Buren, a research scientist at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, says many factors are at play when looking at food web relationships. >click to read<20:28

Northern cod stock declined over last year; scientists urge minimum fishing effort

Those in the province’s fishing industry hoping the northern cod would be ready for a commercial fishery in a few years’ time — a saviour to an industry suffering repeated blows from declining crab and shrimp stocks — better hold on to their hooks and nets. Northern cod this year are in the same leaky boat, having declined significantly over the past year. And that has come as a surprise to many because the northern cod stocks off the province’s east and northeast coast showed promising growth since 2012 — the first real glint of light since the dark and uncertain days of the northern cod stock collapse of the late 1980s and early 1990s. >click to read<10:10

A day at sea – Cod, skate, discards and an observer

It’s cold, dark and slippery at 2 a.m. at the Gloucester pier, and as most people are in bed or just going home from a late night out, Capt. Al Cottone is trying to start his engine and prepare his fishing vessel, the Sabrina Maria, for a day out at sea. The Sabrina Maria is a member of Gloucester’s day fishing fleet, now hovering around 12 boats of what used to be a much larger contingent. This morning Cottone is taking the 42-foot trawler out around Stellwagen Bank, about 15 miles southeast of Gloucester, to trawl for cod, haddock and other groundfish as he skims the coast. >click here to read< 21:18

Coastal communities to ask for disaster declaration after cod forecast reduced by 80 percent

Kodiak officials already are drafting a disaster declaration due to the crash of cod stocks throughout the Gulf of Alaska. The shortage will hurt many other coastal communities as well. Gulf cod catches for 2018 will drop by 80 percent to just under 29 million pounds in federally managed waters, compared to a harvest this year of nearly 142 million pounds. The crash is expected to continue into 2020 or 2021. Cod catches in the Bering Sea also will decline by 15 percent to 414 million pounds. In all, Alaska produces 12 percent of global cod fish. click here to read the story 12:39   

Study: Ocean noise may hinder fish mating

The party is noisy. The music and conversation drown out what you want to say. Welcome to the world of the cod, haddock and other fishwhere its considerably harder because its done in the dark, 160 feet below the ocean surface, where vital communication – essrtially “Here I am, over here!”- can be lost at the constant roar of ships passing overhead, An increasingly noisy ocean may mean fish are having a hard time finding one another to spawn and navigate, according to a new study by NOAA scientists and published last month in the online journal Scientific Reports by Nature.  click here to read the story 10:28

There’s something wrong with cod

It will be another decade maybe, research shows, before harvesters can fish codfish commercially. It’s already been a quarter century since we’ve been able to fish cod commercially. Something is not right here. There has been ample time for cod to be back to commercial status with the minimum amount of cod that has been taken out of the system by Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Why aren’t the cod stocks improving? Is it because of predators of cod and cod larvae, or is it due to seismic work for oil that is killing the food of cod and cod larvae? Is it poor science on cod stocks, and they really don’t know what’s out there? Is it because of foreign overfishing,,, click here to read the story 20:21

Inshore harvesters voice concerns at DFO outreach meeting in Marystown

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) was in Marystown Nov. 21 for one of their series of outreach sessions for inshore fish harvesters in the province. The meeting gave fishers a chance to voice some of their concerns on issues affecting the fishery, and offer their ideas for solutions on some of those issues. Cod allocation was a hot topic among harvesters who gathered at the Marystown Hotel and Convention Centre. click here to read the story 19:19

Many Northern Peninsula harvesters preparing to pack up gear as cod season slows

Now into the last week of October, many fishermen along the Northern Peninsula say the cod season is dwindling for the year. Englee harvester Larry Cull says despite a rough start, it’s been a decent season for his enterprise. “We lost about three weeks because we had no buyer,” said Cull. “It was not as good as last year, but still fairly good.” With a lack of capelin along the peninsula shores this year, most of the cod caught has been particularly small with an assortment of odd baits found in their bellies. click here to read the story 10:50

Live Cam May Show True Status of Atlantic Cod Fishery

Atlantic cod, New England’s most iconic fish, has been reported at historic lows for years, but fishermen hope a new video monitoring technique will prove there are more of the fish than federal surveyors believe. Ronnie Borjeson, who has been fishing for more than 40 years, says the federal surveys don’t match up with what fishermen are seeing. “I don’t care if you’re a gillnetter, a hook and line guy, a trawl guy,” he said, “there’s codfish everywhere up there. Everywhere. You can’t get away from them.” Borjeson helped test a video rig designed by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth that allows them to record fish underwater and count them on the video later. With this rig, scientists can sample a larger area in the same amount of time and hopefully improve federal estimates of how many cod are left. click here to read the story 16:26

Counting Fish – A film by Don Cuddy click here to watch 

Don Cuddy: NOAA scientist says manage fishery as a whole, not by individual stocks

It was interesting therefore to hear a presentation in Plymouth last Thursday by Dr. Russell Brown, a career NOAA Fisheries scientist with a specialty in population dynamics. In 1994, Brown said, the haddock stock on Georges Bank was estimated to be at a critically low point, around 10,000 metric tons. Fishermen had a 500-pound trip limit and were trying to avoid them to catch cod.,, Today the biomass is estimated at 280,000 metric tons and fishermen are trying to avoid cod catching haddock. Unfortunately they are not enjoying a lot of reward because cod have become what is known as a “choke species.” click here to read the story 22:40

Twillingate fisherman ready to sell cod, but no one is buying

John Gillett is ready to start landing cod, but no one is buying. “I didn’t sell either cod fish in July and (as of Aug. 11) I haven’t got one sold yet,” he said. “I was told processors are dragging their feet on purchasing cod because capelin and turbot are coming into the plants at the same time. There is a shortage of workers, also a shortage of fish tubs to hold the cod. But with more than 40 ground fish processing licenses in the province, Gillett wants to know why only a few are processing cod.,,, “I really don’t think the provincial and federal governments want a successful inshore fishery. It’s a form of resettlement, because in the outports, what is there other than the fishery?” click here to read the story 17:22

North Sea cod gets MSC certification

At times during these moratorium years of the northern cod, people in this province have glanced at the North Sea to see how that cod stock was faring. Collapsed, recovered and collapsed again, North Sea cod over the years seemed on a different path than northern cod, and different methods were undertaken to attempt recovery and sustainability. On Wednesday, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) announced that North Sea cod has received its distinguished certification after the stock passed an independent assessment against the MSC’s strict standards.,,, “Since then the industry has worked with the Scottish Government and EU Fisheries Council to agree and implement a ‘Cod Recovery Plan’ that would nurse the stock back to health. “The plan linked the number of days fishing that boats were given to the conservation measures they signed up to. click here to read the story 17:42

Cod salvation and devilish interference

The more people I talk to about the fishery the more I become convinced that there are three root causes of the reoccurring catastrophes in the fishing industry. Those causes are corporate profits, election votes and union agendas. Combined, they add up to political interference. We have been digging and tunnelling for hundreds of years but we still have more non-renewable resources left under the ground than we have renewable resources left under the water. What does that tell us about our track record on managing our renewable resources? Click here to read the op-ed by Harvey Jarvis, Portugal Cove–St. Philip’s  11:11