Dramatic Cod Decline Bodes Ill for Fishermen

by Laurie Schreiber

Portland, ME January 18, 2012. Ellen Goethel, Seabrook, N.H. addressed a meeting held to discuss the assessment that led to a call for drastic cuts in the cod fishery. The cuts would effect other groundfish as well. Goethel spoke of the projected 91% reduction in revenue the cuts would cause in the New Hampshire fleet. Her husband, fisherman and New England Fisheries Council member Dave Goethel has also been critical of the assessment outcome. ©Photo by Sam Murfitt


Preliminary results from the latest Gulf of Maine cod stock assessment indicated the stock is overfished and overfishing is occurring, according to information recently released by the Northeast Regional Office of the National Marine Fisheries Service.

NMFS said the finding likely means that “Gulf of Maine cod will have a very low annual allowable catch that will significantly reduce the catches of other groundfish species in areas where Gulf of Maine cod are found. Additional measures may be required to protect Gulf of Maine cod, and some measures slated for elimination may need to stay—particularly access to areas currently closed to groundfishing.”


Management Plan in the Works for Urchin Fishery
by Laurie Schreiber

The harvest of the green sea urchin in Maine is the subject of much debate between fishermen and managers. It boomed, cycled and in 2011 was at it lowest since it began in the 1980’s. NOAA/Dr. Dwayne Meadows photo

The Sea Urchin Zone Council (SUZC) has agreed to help to draft a fishery management plan for the state’s sea urchin fishery.

SUZC chairman Bill Sutter said it would be a good idea for the industry to get onboard with the idea of drafting a plan, because otherwise the state will do it unilaterally.