NOAA tightens cod quotas in Gulf of Maine

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At the request of the New England Fishery Management Council, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is taking two actions based on new information showing changes in Gulf of Maine cod and haddock stocks.

In an emergency action, NOAA intends to decrease cod quotas on “the severely depleted Gulf of Maine cod stock,” the agency said. It plans to increase the Gulf of Maine haddock quota because the stock size has increased to healthy levels.

A public campaign is revving up to persuade NOAA not to implement emergency cod measures that could shut down the Gulf of Maine to Gloucester’s day-boat groundfishing fleet and those of other day-boat groundfish ports, according to the Gloucester Times.

The Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership and U.S. Sen. Kelly A. Ayotte (R-N.H.) wrote letters to federal regulators last week, again criticizing the controversial stock assessment that led to the anticipated measures and imploring them to devise solutions that do not include additional withering cuts to cod quotas and planned rolling area closures.

NOAA Regional Administrator John K. Bullard said the emergency measures, which will be announced around the middle of this month, likely will include quota cuts and area closures and will have a “disproportionate” negative impact on small-boat groundfish ports such as Gloucester and Portsmouth, N.H.

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