PORTLAND, Maine — Fishing industry managers are recommending the already-diminished U.S. cod fishery face another reduction in catch limits.
Cod fishing was once a huge industry in New England, but it collapsed due to overfishing and environmental challenges.
The regulatory New England Fishery Management Council decided on Friday to call for a reduction of the Georges Bank cod catch from about 2.4 million pounds to about 540,000 pounds next year. Georges Bank is one of two key areas where fishermen catch cod. The other is the Gulf of Maine, which the council recommended remain at about 590,000 pounds next year.
The council said the Georges Bank and Gulf of Maine cod stocks remain overfished. The Gulf of Maine stock shows “few older fish in the population and few incoming recruits,” the council said in a statement.
U.S. fishermen caught more than 100 million pounds of cod per year in the 1980s. The catch was less than 2 million in total last year.
The fish are often used in fish and chips. The U.S. seafood market has turned to foreign sources, from countries such as Iceland and Russia, to meet demand.