The fishing season is about to begin in New England and the proposed new regulations have fishermen concerned. The restrictions include new quotas for 20 ground fish species including; cod, haddock and flounder with the heaviest regulating the cod, particularly the cod found along the popular Rhode Island fisherman spot the Georges Bank.
NOAA research has showed significant signs of severe depletion of the Georges Bank cod stock and the proposed catch limit for the Georges Bank cod is a 62% cut from the past year’s limit and including the past couple years, the catch limit has gone down by 90% according to public affairs officer Jennifer Goebel of NOAA. Although fishermen are still able to catch high amounts of other ground fish species, it will be tricky for them to avoid cod bycatch while fishing for other species. Fishermen and others in the fishing industry are concerned for how these cuts will impact the economy. Daniel Salerno oversees the states ground fish sector says, “There’s going to be less locally caught product available and now we’re probably going to see more imported products or alternative products, maybe farm-raised or what have you.’ Although both the fishing industry and NOAA want to avoid over harvesting, neither agree on how the fish are being counted and thus disagree on the available stock for harvesting.
Such high quota cuts will be hard for fishermen and the economy that thrives of the catch and sale of the cod, but if overharvesting continues the cod fishery in Rhode Island will continue to suffer. The other fisheries that live and thrive in harmony with the cod may also be at risk if the cod stock is not able to replenish and thus further economic hardships will be endured. I think it is more important to find a way to secure the stock and encourage regrowth than to continue harvest beyond sustainable limits.
Espinoza, A. (2016, March 28). Feds Propose Deep Cuts In Cod Quotas. Rhode Island Public Radio. Retrieved April 7, 2016, from https://ripr.org/post/feds-propose-deep-cuts-cod-quotas