Dec 16, 2021
Cod has been a really popular food in New England since colonial days. The fish had once been the main catch in the region’s fishing industry. But fishers have caught so many in recent years that regulators want to put strict limits on how much cod can be caught.
Environmental concerns and overfishing have led to restrictions in the past. They have cut deeply into the once-booming cod-fishing industry along the US and Canadian east coasts.
In 1992, Canada’s government banned cod fishing. It did so because the number of cod had dropped a lot. The ban remains in place across the country’s east coast. The New England Fishery Management Council regulates the region’s fish industry. It has said only about 540,000 pounds of the fish should be caught next year in Georges Bank. Last year, fishers caught 2.4 million pounds there. Georges Bank and the Gulf of Maine are the two main cod fishing areas in the US.
But two New England fishery groups questioned the council’s proposal. They said the council lacked needed information. The council's decision does not reflect what fishers see on the waters, the groups said. The head of one of them said the restrictions would badly hurt the industry.
In the 1980s, US fishers captured more than 100 million pounds of cod per year. By 2020, that had fallen to less than 2 million pounds. To meet consumer demand, the seafood industry has imported much larger quantities of cod from other countries. Diners love cod in popular fish-and-chips platters and sandwiches.
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