On Wednesday, New England fishermen suffered devastating cuts in how much cod they can catch. Now, a prominent environmental group is calling for the complete closure of the region’s cod fishery to avoid what it says could be the commercial collapse of the stock.
The Conservation Law Foundation says the New England Fishery Management Council irresponsibly voted for the least aggressive cuts it could under the law.
"The science is clear. The models are showing cod stocks at the lowest levels in history and declining,’’ said Peter Shelley, senior counsel with CLF. With the vote, “the New England Fisheries Management Council continued a long and irresponsible track record of putting short-term economic interests over the long-term health of New England’s cod fishery.”
The council voted Wednesday to reduce the catch limit of Gulf of Maine cod by 77 percent from last year and the US share of Georges Bank cod, whose stock is shared with Canada, by 55 percent. The cuts will begin May 1.
Fishermen have fought the cuts, saying that fish populations are not as bad as scientists say and that they were lied to by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees fishery regulation. That’s because the federal agency made major errors on a federal analysis of cod off New England that dramatically overestimated the number of cod. The agency only recently discovered the errors and the cuts approved Wednesday reflected the new science.
I’ve called a few fishermen to get their take on CLF’s position. But it’s a pretty good guess they will not have anything supportive to say about the advocacy group's stance.
About the green blog
Helping Boston live a greener, more environmentally friendly life.
Christopher Reidy covers business for the Globe.
Doug Struck covers environmental issues from Boston.
Glenn Yoder produces Boston.com's Lifestyle pages.
Eric Bauer is site architect of Boston.com.
Bennie DiNardo is the Boston Globe's deputy managing editor/multimedia.
Dara Olmsted is a local sustainability professional focusing on green living.