Tag Archives: cod

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

What if the cod came back? The push to reinvent Newfoundland and Labrador’s fishery

If you want to find out if there’ll ever be a vibrant, successful commercial cod fishery off Newfoundland and Labrador again, start with the guy whose boat sank in some of the most formidable waters in the country. “Groundfish is not coming back, it is back,” says Brad Watkins, who is determined to be at the vanguard of a reimagined cod business. Two years ago, his boat, the Atlantic Charger, sank in the frigid waters of Frobisher Bay, off the coast of Nunavut, nearly costing the lives of the nine men on board. Despite that severe setback, Watkins is back in the game, investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in state-of-the-art fishing gear and capitalizing on easy-on-the-ocean technology. click here to read the story 08:58

Can cod comeback keep a Canadian fishery afloat?

A generation after Canada declared a moratorium on northern cod fishing off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, the species is making a comeback. But can the province’s troubled fishery survive to take advantage of cod’s resurgence? The wharf in Petty Harbour is quiet, and Todd Chafe, a 46-year-old fisherman, is slicing up cod for a nearby family restaurant in a shack near the water. “Some fellas like to point fingers: ‘Ah, this done it, foreigners done it’,” he says. Chafe is talking about the collapse of northern cod off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador 25 years ago. “We all done it, every single person that went fishing done it. Everybody fished for it so everybody had a hand in destroying it.”,,, Now there is a glimmer of hope. Northern cod stock has reached about 25% of the levels seen in the ’80s. But there is a fierce debate over what the return of cod fishing should look like in Newfoundland. click here to read the story 20:22

FISH-NL describes price of cod as ‘scandalous’ and another example of FFAW conflict; renews call for province to allow in outside buyers

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the 2017 price of cod recently negotiated by the FFAW is an insult to the province’s inshore harvesters, and renews its call for the province to allow in outside buyers. “That price is scandalous,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “It’s an insult to already injured inshore harvesters. The FFAW expects cod will save harvesters from shellfish declines, but then the union agrees to a price that will starve our fish harvesters as fast as DFO mismanagement.”The high price of cod this year is up 5 cents a pound. The 2017 price per pound paid to harvesters for Grade A cod has been set at a high of 83 cents, and low of 20 cents. In 2016, the Grade A price paid was 78 cents a pound, with 20 cents as the low mark for Grade C. read the press release here 19:45

Newfoundland and Labrador Fishermen don’t agree that crab, shrimp stocks are as bad as scientists say

The province’s fishery appears to be on the brink of a sea change. News over the past couple of months of continually declining snow crab and northern shrimp stocks in waters off Newfoundland and Labrador’s coasts have sent waves of concern washing over the fishing industry. The expected cuts this spring to crab and shrimp quotas have fisherman all around the province on edge. And there’s little else to fill in the gap — the northern cod stocks, while showing signs of strong growth in recent years, are still not ready for a major commercial fishing effort. Lying in the balance are huge investments in vessels and fishing gear, work for boat crews and plants, and the survival of rural areas of the province. But while scientific stock assessments of crab and shrimp reveal a dismal picture, many fishermen are not so sure that picture is accurate. In fact, many say they are seeing things a bit differently out on the water, and see some hope for the fishery of the future if fishermen are willing to branch out into other potential commercial species. click here to read the story 08:50

A milestone in the war over the true state of cod

For years, fishermen from Gloucester to New Bedford have accused the federal government of relying on faulty science to assess the health of the region’s cod population, a fundamental flaw that has greatly exaggerated its demise, they say, and led officials to wrongly ban nearly all fishing of the iconic species.The fishermen’s concerns resonated with Governor Charlie Baker, so last year he commissioned his own survey of the waters off New England, where cod were once so abundant that fishermen would say they could walk across the Atlantic on their backs. Now, in a milestone in the war over the true state of cod in the Gulf of Maine, Massachusetts scientists have reached the same dismal conclusion that their federal counterparts did: The region’s cod are at a historic low — about 80 percent less than the population from just a decade ago. continue reading the story here 08:07

New England’s cod catch in nosedive

The decline of the fishery has made the U.S. reliant on foreign cod, and cod fish fillets and steaks purchased in American supermarkets and restaurants are now typically caught by Norway, Russia or Iceland in the north Atlantic. In Maine, which is home to the country’s second-largest Atlantic cod fishery, the dwindling catch has many wondering if cod fishing is a thing of the past. “It’s going to be more and more difficult for people to make this work,” said Maggie Raymond, executive director of the Associated Fisheries of Maine. State records say 2016 was historically bad for cod fishing in Maine. Fishermen brought less than 170,000 pounds of the fish to land in the state last year.,,, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released an assessment of the Gulf of Maine cod stock in 2014 that said the spawning population was at its lowest point in the history of the study of the fish. Scientists have cited years of overfishing and inhospitable environmental conditions as possible reasons for the decline. continue reading the story here 09:50

The cod are coming back to Newfoundland — and they’re eating the shrimp that had taken over

Theodore Genge has a big beautiful new dragger that’ll be ready to head for “the Labrador” as soon as the sea ice loosens its grip on Anchor Point. When the 63-year-old Newfoundland fisherman began building the $2.2 million trawler two years ago he had 750,000 pounds worth of shrimp quota to catch. But plummeting shrimp numbers in the cold water off Labrador have led Fisheries and Oceans Canada to drastically carve into quotas for that coast. Genge expects that by April he’ll be left with a total of 300,000 lbs of quotas — 220,000 lbs in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where there is still plenty of shrimp, and 80,000 lbs on the Labrador coast. “Right now, yes, it’s pretty stressful – I don’t know whether there’s any hope or no,” said Genge. (Big read!) continue reading the article here 16:25

Cod Found Once Again in Cold Ocean Waters off New York Harbor

Over the last several years, one fish in particular has been making a slow, but steady comeback in the offshore environment of the northwestern North Atlantic. It was a fish that was so plentiful at one time that it filled the cold waters of New England’s rocky coastline, so much so that early Europeans named a large peninsula in Massachusetts after the fish. Cod, as declared by both the Boston Globe and the New Scientist, are making a comeback, after decades of strict government regulations. Last year, the Boston Globe wrote that the Canadian fishing authorities released a report in spring 2016 suggesting “cod are finally making a comeback….The report found that the adult population of northern cod had more than doubled in size over the past three years, and it estimates that the spawning stock will double again within the next three years — bringing it two-thirds of the way back to a healthy fishery.” It’s not just in New England and Canada either. Nearby recreational fisherman out of New York City and along Long Island to Montauk and down the Jersey Shore to Point Pleasant for the last several years have been finding more cod while angling out in the ocean during winter or early spring cod fishing trips. Read the article here 08:46

Cod an option in face of looming shrimp cuts, says FFAW

The Fish, Food and Allied Workers union says expansion into commercial cod fishing is a possibility for harvesters, as another cut to overall shrimp quotas looms for next season. Following revelations by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans this week that the shrimp stock in the crucial Zone 6 area off of Newfoundland has fallen again, FFAW president Keith Sullivan says it looks like another quota cut is coming — but there may be alternatives. According to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the landed value of shrimp in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2016 dropped to $276 million. Read the story here 08:29

New SMAST camera can help assess cod stocks in Gulf of Maine

Researchers from UMass Dartmouth say they have successfully tested an underwater video-survey system that they hope will provide an accurate method to assess Atlantic cod stocks. In collaboration with fishermen, the research team recently placed high-resolution cameras in an open-ended commercial trawl net on Stellwagen Bank in the Gulf of Maine, known as one of the world’s most active marine sanctuaries. The cameras captured images of cod and other groundfish as they passed through the net. Periodically, researchers from UMD’s School for Marine Science & Technology closed the net for short periods to collect length, weight, and take other biological samples from some of the fish. The fish are unharmed and are returned to the sea. The system is design to be portable, so scientists can set it up on different fishing vessels. Professor Kevin Stokesbury, head researcher on the project, said the video system is an important tool at a time of uncertainty about the groundfish stock in the Gulf of Maine. Read the story here 17:57  Read the press release and watch the video here

Using cod pots could be the way of the future for cod fishery

Phillip Meintzer thinks there might be a better way to fish for cod off the waters of Newfoundland and Labrador. The master’s graduate student in science from the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Resources, Marine Institute of Memorial University, was guest speaker for the weekly Coastal Matters series at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University in Corner Brook Thursday. His presentation discussed promoting the conservation of Atlantic cod through the improvement and implementation of cod pots in the province. Here are five things to know about cod pots. Read the rest here 09:59

Letter: New year brings new hope for the fishery – Francis Patey, St. Anthony

As we move through January and discard the old calendar, we might ask ourselves what kind of year 2016 was for rural Newfoundland and Labrador. For me, personally, the top event of the year was remembering the 100th anniversary of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and the Battle of the Somme, which my father was a part of. In 2016, the Liberals were back in power, dealing with a bag of financial problems left behind by the previous government, resulting in tough decisions being made to keep this Rock afloat. As in other years, rural Newfoundland and Labrador was again feeling the hatchet in the form of quota cuts to the shellfish industry, making fishermen wonder if it’s all worth it. Some may ask, with all the doom and gloom of 2016, was there not one single glimmer of light? Yes, there was. For the first time since the cod moratorium, the people in charge of running our fishery finally listened to the fishermen when they said the cod is back and back in abundance. Read the letter here 10:06

A New England story goes Australian – Fishing industries under pressure

Atlantic-Cod-Dieter-CraasmannThe cod isn’t just a fish to David Goethel. It’s his identity, his ticket to middle class life, his link to a historic industry. “I paid for my education, my wife’s education, my house, my kids’ education; my slice of America was paid for on cod,” said Goethel, a 30-year veteran of waters that once teemed with New England’s signature fish. But on a chilly, windy Saturday in April, after 12 hours out in the Gulf of Maine, he has caught exactly two cod, and he feels far removed from the 1990s, when he could catch 2,000 pounds in a day. The US fishing fleet has dwindled from more than 120,000 vessels in 1996 to about 75,000 today, the Coast Guard says. For the fishermen of the northeastern US – not all of whom accept the scientific consensus on climate change, and many of whom bristle at government regulations stemming from it – whether to stick with fishing, adapt to the changing ocean or leave the business is a constant worry. Robert Bradfield was one of the East Coast’s most endangered species, a Rhode Island lobsterman, until he pulled his traps out of the water for the last time about a decade ago. Read the rest here 09:30