NOAA compromises over cod


As noted in previous week’s posts, the local fishing industry advocacy group the Gloucester Fishing Community Preservation Fund has been working hard to formulate a compromise on the emergency interim cod measure that will both alleviate some of the hardship faced by local fishermen while preserving the health of this historic stock.  In an unprecedented move, NOAA administrators agreed to re-evaluate a proposal that was set forth by Vito Giacalone and the board of the GFCPF, which includes our very own Kathi Turner.  The proposal involved a compromise to surrender a proportion of the cod currently allocated to the local fleet while allowing them greater flexibility to target other local stocks. On Tuesday of this week, the compromise was accepted and the interim measure on cod was amended.

The online fisheries news source SavingSeafood explains:

“While guaranteeing the conservation of 30 metric tons of cod, the GCFPF compromise gives fishermen the flexibility necessary to catch these healthy stocks while still avoiding cod, allows the full retention of any cod that is caught rather than being wastefully discarded, and remedies current disruptions in the market for underutilized groundfish, which regional businesses have developed in recent years.”

The Gloucester Daily Times adds:

“NOAA Fisheries on Tuesday formally issued the sector exemption that will remove elements of the emergency cod measures in the Gulf of Maine for the remainder of the current fishing season.

The exemption, sought by industry stakeholders as a means for accessing healthier and more plentiful stocks, will remove the 200-pound trip limit for cod bycatch and keep the broad stock areas open.

 In return, some fishing sectors have agreed to collectively surrender 30 metric tons of cod allocation as an offsetting cod conservation.

The exemption will not allow any targeted fishing for cod in the Gulf of Maine for the remainder of this fishing season, nor will it grant the March area openings sought by the industry in return for another 30 metric tons of cod allocation.”

You can read more about this historic legislative compromise and the impact it will have on our local fishing fleet by clicking here and here.