Public hearing Tuesday on cod quotas in Gulf of Maine

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The New England Fisheries Management Council will hold a public hearing Tuesday evening to review a proposal to shut down a 55-square-mile area in New England to recreational fishing.

Regulators cut New England’s cod quota by 75 percent for next year, saying the fishery was at an all-time low.

Massachusetts Gov.-elect Charlie Baker, concerned about sharp restrictions on cod fishing in the Gulf of Maine, has openly questioned whether the federal government is accurately tallying the iconic species, according to the Boston Globe.

And aggrieved fishermen, an iconic species of their own, have argued that the abundant catch in their nets this year belies the government’s warnings of a species on the brink of collapse.

The Recreational Fishing Alliance is encouraging saltwater anglers and boating industry leaders to attend the hearing, which will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel in Plymouth, Mass., and oppose the emergency closing.

"If this closure goes through, we will endure a whole lot more to make trips with fewer customers," Capt. Mike Pierdinock, of the charter boat Perseverance from Marshfield's Green Harbor, said in a statement. "It will increase travel times to fishing grounds one to two hours and cost us 20 to 40 percent more in fuel and overhead costs."

"We know our recreational and commercial fishermen are laboring under enormous ecological, regulatory and financial pressures," state Rep. Jim Cantwell said. "Our fishermen are telling us this closure would just be another nail in the coffin.”

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