Federal fisheries officials are preparing to release a stock assessment update for Gulf of Maine cod and NOAA Fisheries says, unfortunately, the news is not good.
NOAA Fisheries scientists say analyses present a grim picture for potential recovery of the region's iconic cod; virtually every indicator of stock conditions worsened in 2013 they say.
Dr. Russell Brown, Deputy Science and Research Director for the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, says his department is very concerned.
"Because the management actions that were taken following our most recent stock assessment were to reduce the catch for the stock by approximately 77 percent," says Brown "and so there was a large reduction in the fishery. Despite that reduction, the stock appears to be continuing to decline."
Brown says researchers aren't sure why the decline is happening and have sent a letter to the New England Fishery Management Council asking for the group's help in conducting a peer review of the new information.
In a statement released Friday afternoon Gerry Cushman, President of the Maine Coast Fishermen's Association, says that another catch reduction would mean that there wouldn't be enough cod to sustain the few fishermen who are left. He says people have to figure out what is going on with the stock and address those issues before it's too late.