Codfish numbers at key fishery hits all-time low

Temperature change could be one factor
Associated Press
Aug 10, 2014

The level of codfish spawning in one of the most critical fisheries in the Northeast U.S. is at an all-time low, putting more pressure on a fishery already dealing with declining catch and dramatic quota cuts.

National Marine Fisheries Service scientists say the amount of cod spawning in the Gulf of Maine is estimated to be 3 to 4 percent of its target level. That number declined from 13 to 18 percent three years ago.

Low levels of reproduction in the fishery are holding repopulation back, scientists say. They are investigating what might be driving down the numbers of cod but believe temperature change — which they have also linked to a declining Northern shrimp stock and northern migration of herring — may be one factor.

The Gulf of Maine, along with Georges Bank, is one of two key areas where East Coast fishermen search for cod, a vital commercial fish in New England that appears in supermarkets and roadside fish-and-chip shops.

An updated assessment of the Gulf of Maine cod shows the fish spawning at levels lower than seen in data stretching back to the 1930s, scientists say. Records of cod catches dating back to the 19th century indicate the population has never dipped this low before, said Russ Brown, deputy science and research director at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center.

"The analysis really presents a grim picture for the recovery of the stock," Brown said. "Every indicator of the stock condition has declined or worsened between 2011 and 2013."

Before the 2013-14 fishing season, federal regulators cut the Gulf of Maine cod harvest quota by 77 percent, to 1,550 metric tons, in the hopes of spurring growth in the fishery, and that's still in effect.

The federal New England Fishery Management Council is working on new management measures for the species, including a potential new quota for the 2015-16 fishing season that begins May 1. A recommendation could come in November, a spokeswoman said.

Commercial catches have plummeted, with Maine dropping from more than 560 metric tons of cod in 2009 to less than 130 metric tons last year. Massachusetts, the most productive cod-fishing state in the Northeast, fell from 6,810 metric tons in 2011 to 4,075 metric tons in 2012, federal data show.

The number of fish surviving their first year has also dipped since 2009, a spokeswoman for the council said.

New England's cod fishermen, who typically also catch other groundfish such as haddock and pollock, are "kind of getting used to bad news," said Ben Martens, executive director of the Maine Coast Fishermen's Association. However, he said, some preliminary signs in the current fishing year are positive. Cod catches for sale at the Portland Fish Exchange, Maine's largest fish auction, are up 50 percent from last year, he said.

Maggie Raymond, executive director of the Associated Fisheries of Maine and the owner of two Boston-based groundfish boats, said the availability of Icelandic and Alaskan cod could avert a price spike at markets. However, deeper quotas and poor spawning could make New England cod more of a rarity, she said.

"I'm sure there's going to be less New England cod available to the consumer in this region," he said.



"Temperature change could be one factor"

"They are investigating what might be driving down the numbers of cod but believe temperature change — which they have also linked to a declining Northern shrimp stock and northern migration of herring — may be one factor."

A clever, but misleading article. Reading the above one would assume in this day of so-called Global Warming, that "temperature change" means that the water is getting warmer. Nope! Just the opposite. According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Canadian Department charged with overseeing oceans, the reason that the codfish population has not increased is threefold:
1. Inadequate food supplies
2. Genetic problems due to overfishing of large cod
3. COOLING of the North Atlantic

Congratulations to the AP and the SR for setting the journalistic bar so low. Is this what is being taught in Journalism school today?


June was the Earth's warmest such month on record since instrument data began in 1880, propelled by ocean temperatures that were so far above average that they broke a separate milestone. Global ocean temperatures during the month had never been this unusually hot, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which released the new data on Monday.

Blackberry Phale

And July brought below-average temperatures for much of the central and eastern U.S.

Oh please, please, please Al Gore, save us, save us, save us. How will we live?????


Cod live in the ocean and not in central and eastern U.S. FYI: below-average temperatures would qualify as Climate Change.

Blackberry Phale

No, below-average temperatures would qualify as weather.

Pterocarya frax...

Yet your comment at 8:51pm clearly indicates that you don't know the difference between climate and weather.

Dr. Information

Why is it with the climate change nuts that no matter what happens, its all bad and not suppose to be that way? Accurate weather recording didn't happen until the early to mid 1900's.

Humans think that because things have changed in their lifetime that the earth is self imploding but fail to realize that their existence on earth is a micro fraction of earths age.

Things change, they never stay the same. Weather goes up, it goes down. 3 years ago we had a really hot hot summer, followed by 2 below avg. summers in Ohio. For the last 10 years we had very mild winters until this last winter in Ohio. Whats amazing is the down right overreaction with weather these days.

Oh btw, more ice was recorded this year than ever before in the ocean as a whole.

Licorice Schtick

There's more ice in the oceans because it's falling off the polar ice caps, you idiot.

Blackberry Phale

Didn't take long for you to resort to your typical name calling when you don't agree with someone.

Licorice Schtick

In this particular case, it's not name-calling, it's clearly a clinical fact. Only an idiot can perceive more icebergs as evidence AGAINST global warming. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

And my name-calling isn't typical. Mostly I'm more disciplined. For example, I've refrained from calling you an idiot, or a crank, or a troll. But if I said your comments were typical of denier irrational hogwash, that's technically not name-calling, right?

But I concede that I could have been more sensitive when responding to a comment from one who's obviously mentally differently-abled. Instead of "you idiot" I might have said, "You seem to have drawn a fallacious conclusion," at the cost of truth.

Dr. Information

L S is just another "I don't get my way so Im going to name call" liberal.
The levels of Antarctic sea-ice last week hit an all-time high – confounding climate change computer models which say it should be in decline.
America’s National Snow And Ice Data Center, which is funded by Nasa, revealed that ice around the southern continent covers about 16million sq km, more than 2.1 million more than is usual for the time of year.
It is by far the highest level since satellite observations on which the figures depend began in 1979.
In statistical terms, the extent of the ice cover is hugely significant.

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Blackberry Phale

RE: Is this what is being taught in Journalism school today?


Greenies never let a simple thing like TRUTH get in the way of a good temperature change story.


More than 99% of experts think the opposite as you. I think I'll side with them - the people who actually HAVE studied the issue; the people with evidence.

It's going to get rather embarrassing for those who buried their heads in the sand, since many of the things Gore predicted are already happening.

Blackberry Phale

Al Gore predicted on December 14th, 2008, the North Polar Ice Cap would be completely ice free in five years. That means that now the North Pole should be completely melted by now. Al Gore’s prophesy has been nothing but a hoax.

So drink up. Unfortunately there are too many people still drinking from the socialist kool-aid.


From Gore's speech:
"Last September 21 (2007), as the Northern Hemisphere tilted away from the sun, scientists reported with unprecedented distress that the North Polar ice cap is "falling off a cliff." One study estimated that it could be completely gone during summer in less than 22 years. Another new study, to be presented by U.S. Navy researchers later this week, warns it could happen in as little as 7 years."

Blackberry: Take note that Gore was quoting others. Including the Department of the Navy.

Our Navy is Socialist and a hoax?

Blackberry Phale

More accurately it is not the Navy in general but the US Naval Postgraduate School Department of Oceanography that predicted this. Gore was just the fool to repeat it.

It all boils down to this, the current administration wants the public to believe that climate change is a threat to national security.

The Bizness

It is a threat to humanity and our current way of life...not just national security.

Dr. Information

Its no threat, ITS A MONEY MAKER, ask Al Gorge. Its yet another way of controlling the American mass and you socialists eat it up because you love when someone tells you something and says they will take care of you.

Blackberry Phale

So you are saying small temperature changes is a threat to our current way of life?

The global-warming agenda is increasingly being revealed for the scam it is.

The Bizness

Yes, a small change, makes a big difference.


What is, "the Navy in general"

Mission Statement:

The mission of the Naval Postgraduate School is to provide relevant and unique advanced education and research programs to increase the combat effectiveness of commissioned officers of the Naval Service to enhance the security of the United States. In support of the foregoing, and to sustain academic excellence, foster and encourage a program of relevant and meritorious research which both supports the needs of Navy and Department of Defense while building the intellectual capital of Naval Postgraduate School faculty.Perspectives on NPS

"The best and brightest military officers from the United States and around the world come to the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, to work with world class faculty on real military and defense problems. At NPS, they gain both the intellectual know how and the practical skills for improving defense technologies, systems and programs."

George H.W. Bush
41st President, United States

Current administration? I believe that the quote in question was stated in 2007. Keep in mind that the thesis and research was completed prior to that publication date--Bush Jr. administration.


H. W. was the first Bush. In office from 89-93. Bush jr. was just W.


The top three problems with cod are: overfishing, overfishing, and overfishing.

Blackberry Phale

Lets not forget western Europe accounts for 70–80% of the world cod market. The British even used warships during the Cod Wars.


There has been NO warming in 15 yrs, zip, zero, nada.
That 99% figure you sight coaster is a figure retrieved from only 1/3 of the group polled. Meaning 3/4 of the scientists polled did not answer the poll, of the 1/3 who did it was 99%. Changes it a bit, eh?

The Bizness

The "no warming" claim people make is made by picking and choosing data start and end points. I could pick a year and draw a trend line that would show cooling, or heating.

So this argument doesnt hold scientific weight.

Dr. Information

So wait, those claiming there IS warming do not have a starting and end point? How is your argument any more solid than sugars. Problem is, it isn't.

The Bizness

Yes, the starting point is when we startec manipulating our atmosphere, and creating the changes we see.


So you go back to the first time man started a fire? I don't think you really mean what you just wrote. The atmosphere was first changed by Man the first fire that he started a fire. Do you wish to change your definition? Or will you stick with it?

AJ Oliver

Denialists have no science on their side. Try to grasp that weather is not the same as climate. And it's beyond stupid to attack the messenger - be it Gore or whomsoever.