Officials Back Deep Cuts in Atlantic Cod Harvest to Save Industry
Fishery management officials meeting here on Wednesday voted to impose drastic new cuts to the commercial harvest of cod along the Atlantic coast, arguing that the only way to save the centuries-old cod fishing industry was to sharply limit it.
In the 1600s, the lowly cod was so abundant in the cold North Atlantic waters that, along with boatbuilding and timbering, it provided the foundation of the New England economy. In the 1700s, a “sacred cod” was bestowed on the State House in Massachusetts, where it hangs to this day as a symbol of the importance of cod fishing to the region.
But over recent decades, the once bountiful cod has been so depleted that government officials now say that it stands on the verge of extinction.
At a grim daylong session here, a deeply divided New England Fishery Management Council voted to recommend reductions of 77 percent from last year’s catch for each of the next three years for cod in the Gulf of Maine.
that the cod is on the verge of extinction, is beyond tragic. This is a great book for anyone wanting to know more.
Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
by Mark Kurlansky
Cod, it turns out, is the reason Europeans set sail across the Atlantic, and it is the only reason they could. What did the Vikings eat in icy Greenland and on the five expeditions to America recorded in the Icelandic sagas? Cod, frozen and dried in the frosty air, then broken into pieces and eaten like hardtack. What was the staple of the medieval diet? Cod again, sold salted by the Basques, an enigmatic people with a mysterious, unlimited supply of cod.