Please Stand With Us, For the Sake of Cod

Apr 3, 2013 by  | Bio |  12 Comment »

A few weeks ago my colleague Peter Shelley stood in front of fishermen and policymakers and spoke about the startling decline of New England’s cod fishery. Did you know that, since 1982, it’s estimated we have lost more than 80% of the cod in New England’s ocean? That surely should be a wake up call to us all.

That day, Peter’s argument was simple, and backed by sound science. We must act quickly, he argued, to prevent the Atlantic cod – New England’s most iconic fish — from complete and utter collapse.

The response? Hisses and boos. Hisses and boos.

Peter is no fool – he knew what was coming. A fisheries expert who filed the first lawsuit that led to the cleanup of Boston Harbor, Peter has heard this same response too often. But still, this response is as startling as it is unhelpful.

The science is clear. Atlantic cod populations are at an all-time historic low. The cod fishery, which for generations has supported a way of life in New England’s coastal communities, may be in complete collapse. Don’t believe me? Watch this video of Peter explaining the science behind this critical issue.

Over the coming 14 days, NOAA – the agency in charge of setting limits on how much cod commercial fisherman can catch – is deciding how much to allow commercial fisherman to catch this year. We at CLF believe that the managers of this public resource have a responsibility to revive and rebuild cod stocks.

Instead, they are continuing a decades-long pattern of risky decision-making that has run this fishery and its communities into the ground.

We have an opportunity to urge NOAA to save the Atlantic cod from complete collapse. But we have to act now. The longer we wait, the more we risk losing this iconic fishery.

We at CLF are working to urge NOAA to do three things:

  1. Shut down the commercial cod fishery, so as to save it for future generations
  2. Protect cod populations, especially the adult females that produce as many as 8 million eggs a year
  3. And, protect the ocean refuges that will allow cod to recover, not bow to industry pressure by opening them to more commercial fishing.

If you believe, as we at CLF believe, that the cod fishery is worth saving, please stand with thousands of New Englanders and take action today.

Now is not the time to push the limits of the law and set dangerously high catch levels. Now is not the time to bow to industry pressure. Now is not the time to risk this species for short-term gain.

Now is the time to show strength, and real leadership. Now is the time to try to save New England’s cod fishery for future generations to enjoy.

Please stand with us, and thousands of others, in calling on NOAA to protect this species before it’s too late.

12 Responses to “Please Stand With Us, For the Sake of Cod”

  1. John J. Fitzgerald

    I support rational proposals to restore the cod population off of our New England coast.

    John J. Fitzgerald

  2. Michael Hogan

    Protect cod populations, especially the adult females that produce as many as 8 million eggs a year and, protect the ocean refuges that will allow cod to recover, not bow to industry pressure by opening them to more commercial fishing.

  3. Peggy Ueda

    I agree with the Conservation Law Foundation that we should take needed measures to preserve the cod fishery. Continuing over-fishing for the sake of short-term business needs will end up hurting everyone in the not-much-longer term, especially those who depend on the fishery for their livelihoods.

  4. Anna Churchill

    I would assume that refraining from buying cod for personal consumption would also be helpful?
    And what locally caught fish would CLF recommend for my dinner?

  5. Katharyn S Hok

    Please take all the following actions necessary to insure the continued survival of the cod population
    1. Shut down the commercial cod fishery to save this resource for future generations.
    2. Protect cod populations – especially the adult females who lay as many as eight million eggs annually.
    3. Protect the ocean refuges that will allow cod to recover, not bow to industry pressure to open these areas to more commercial fishing.

  6. Ernest Kahn

    Please Stop catching Cod and let the stock return>.

  7. Anne S. Nash

    Protect the remaining cod. They deserve to survive and are on of our national treasures especially in New England. Do what is right.

  8. Paul Conboy

    As an important food source, I hope the Atlantic Cod is allowed some time to recover from years of overfishing. Sustainable harvesting limits are imperative after the required recovery time.

  9. Richard K Jennings M D

    A step, among many needed, to deal with the global climate instability and it’s many manifestatiions.

  10. Martha

    Cod is iconic in New England, and delicious as well , a fish with an important and amazing history in our region. Please protect these fish now, before the population completely collapses. For a time this will mean seriously tamping down on cod fishing , but it truly is an imperative at this point for survival. Thank you for your consideration in this important matter.

  11. Theresa Cohen

    Please act now to save Atlantic cod by restricting commercial practices that threaten to decimate the cod population. This is in everyone’s interest, the ecosystem, the consumer, and the fishing industry.

  12. Ben Carmichael

    As the editor of this blog, I want to thank you all for your supportive comments. Your response has been extraordinary: we have hundreds of letters to send to NOAA, and to John Bullard, asking them to protect cod and cod habitat.

    We rely on people like you to stand with us to make sure we can be effective in saving species like the Atlantic cod. You haven’t let us down. From all of us here, let me express our sincerest thanks.

    We’ll keep you updated on what happens next. Stay tuned for more!

    Ben Carmichael
    Senior Communications Manager, CLF