Monday, February 13, 2012

Cod: grim assessment from NOAA


It was not Columbus but the Basques who discovered America.  In 1504 at the latest the European cod fishery was established in the strait of Belle Isle, Newfound Land.  Some think they got there a lot earlier but didn't tell the rest of the world. Fishermen don't give away their secret spots.  For the Basques the Grand Banks off Newfound Land was their secret spot- where the cod could be netted in unheard of abundance.  Once word got out cod wars followed.
So we have been studying and arguing over cod for 500 years.
Nonetheless we find that it is still harder to count the fish than it is to find fish.

NOAA had raised hopes that the stock would be restored by 2014.
Now that hope is dashed as the stock assessment is reduced.  The dread words: "overfished and over fishing is occurring"  Bad and getting worse.  And recreational charters are part of the problem.
The theory is that the stock has been clustering in the western Gulf of Maine, so while catches are abundant it is because the nets and hooks are dropping in the heartland of cod.

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