PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A deep cut to the amount of cod New England fisherman can catch went into effect on Friday, as regulators try to save the struggling industry.
Federal regulators reduced the Gulf of Maine cod catch limit from 1,550 to 386 metric tons for the fishing year that started Friday. The quota cutback is needed because the level of cod spawning in the Gulf of Maine is a fraction of target levels, regulators have said. The cut means fishermen will also be restricted in how much they can catch of other popular food species like haddock and hake.
Dealers have said the price for some local seafood could be higher this summer because of lower availability. Local pollock have recently sold for about $4 to $7 per pound in Maine, while hake have been around $6 to $8 and haddock $8 to $10. The fish will still be easily available in the region because of foreign sources.
The Gulf of Maine is one of two key cod fishing areas in New England along with Georges Bank off of Massachusetts. Regulators have said overfishing hit the stock hard, while some marine scientists have added that warming oceans could be making it worse.