Rules and Regulations

The regulations surrounding the catch of North Atlantic Cod in the Gulf of Maine (GOM) are constantly adapting to fit the changing data.  Beginning with the Magnuson Act in 1976, the cod population was grouped in with all groundfish in the GOM.  In 2006 after the Magnuson Act was reformed, stock assessments of all groundfish were conducted.  Although the cod population had been declining since the 1980s due to overfishing, the numbers produced in 2006 showed that the fishery was on track to recover by 2014.

Since the refurbishment of the Magnuson Act of 2006, fishing regulations have been highly restricted.  All recreational fishing for cod is prohibited in the GOM, but is allowed outside of those managed watered.  The commercial fishery inside of the GOM is limited to 25 pounds of cod per vessel trip.  Furthermore, all caught cod must be at least 19 inches in length.

Based on the results of a 2014 stock assessment, it is clear that the cod population has not rebounded.  Scientists at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute believe that climate change is one of the biggest driving factors keeping the stock from recovering.  The GOM has warmed at a rate three times faster than any other body of water in the world, causing scientists to speculate as to how this would affect the cod populations.  Although regulations imposed in 2006 promised a stock size increase, they did not take into account the changing ecosystem in the GOM due to rising water temperatures.



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