The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has set a catch limit of 6,700 metric tons for Gulf of Maine cod for the 2012 fishing year, much higher than the previously estimated 1,500-metric-ton catch limit. The increased limit was the result of collaborative work with fishermen and the New England Fishery Management Council.
In late 2011, a new stock assessment for Gulf of Maine cod found the stock declined unexpectedly, leading to a proposed 1,500-ton limit, according to a press release. The limit, which takes effect May 1, is 22% less than last year's, The Associated Press reported. Earlier this year, New England lawmakers, including U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, urged the U.S. Commerce Department to use an emergency provision to set an interim catch limit that would allow cod fishermen to make a living this year. In a press release yesterday, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree said she was "pleased to see [regulators] agreed to an intermediate approach."
The Gulf of Maine Research Institute is coordinating a comprehensive study of the cod stocks to help with future planning and quotas before the 2013 season, according to Pingree's release.