In this Oct. 29, 2015, file photo, a cod that will be auctioned off sits on ice at the Portland Fish Exchange in Portland. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

The federal government is expanding the recreational fishing season for cod in the Gulf of Maine in the coming year.

Cod fishing is tightly monitored because the fish’s population off the Northeast has dramatically declined in recent decades. However, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the recreational fishing rules “can be liberalized somewhat” without risking exceeding fishing quotas.

The old rules limited cod fishing to Sept. 15 to 30. The new rules expand the season for private boats to include April 1 to 14. The season for for-hire boats will be expanded to Sept. 8 to Oct. 7 and April 1 to 14.

NOAA is also expanding the open season for haddock, another sport fish found off New England.