Saturday, August 11, 2012

More beans, less cod in Boston next year?

"For the second straight year, the federal government is expected to lower catch limits on certain New England groundfish that swim close to the sea bottom, including cod.

"In the current 2012 season, the fishing industry's total allowable catch for Gulf of Maine cod was reduced by 22% to 6,700 metric tons. The 2013 season, which starts next May, is expected to be worse, and for more types of groundfish.

"A preliminary report from the New England Fishery Management Council suggests the next season's catch limits could include a 70% or more reduction from 2012 levels in the number of cod allowed to be caught in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank, a stretch of Atlantic Ocean sea floor between Cape Cod and Nova Scotia. The council is the regional policy-making arm of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service.

"Fishery officials say the once abundant groundfish in the region were diminished by years of overfishing, and that even with catch quotas, stocks have not yet replenished as scientists expected. Federal and regional fishery scientists and policy makers determine quotas by measuring stocks of fish. Data comes from surveys by fishing trawlers as well as records submitted by fishermen and dealers about what they are catching and buying.
"Meanwhile, the Atlantic lobster industry is facing its own challenges—caused by too many lobsters. The glut has driven down prices to the lowest in decades. Maine lobstermen often send their catch to Canada to be processed, but lobstermen there are protesting and demanding the plants not accept Maine's catch. The Canadians fear Maine's low prices will drive down their own."

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