“The Atlantic cod population is struggling, and this vote is finally a step in the right direction,” said Allison Lorenc, Senior Policy Analyst at CLF. “After two failed attempts, this new plan will reduce fishing pressure to help cod recover while supporting fishing communities. Our hope is that this is the first of many decisions that will set cod on a path to a healthy population.”
Federal fishery managers denied CLF’s petition to end overfishing and rebuild Atlantic cod. Now, New England fishery managers begin a third attempt to save cod.
“This is a watershed moment for New England’s cod population,” said Allison Lorenc, Senior Policy Analyst at CLF. “The groundfish fishery has been plagued by overfishing for decades, but 100% at-sea monitoring will provide critical information needed for sustainable management. It’s time Atlantic cod are allowed to thrive in New England’s waters, and today’s announcement is a major step in that direction.”
“We cannot allow this downward spiral to continue,” said Erica Fuller, Senior Attorney at CLF. “Like the now extinct passenger pigeon, scientists are getting better and better at counting fewer and fewer whales. It’s time to stop pointing fingers and put meaningful protections in place so whales are no longer needlessly killed by boats and fishing gear. Right whales can recover; we just need to stop killing them.”
Justin Suca, oceanography researcher at WHOI, highlights the crucial role of forage fish for larger species, coastal communities, and the entire ocean ecosystem.
“Fragile deep-sea corals play a critical role in the marine ecosystem and must be protected,” said CLF Senior Attorney Erica Fuller. “Coral provide essential habitat for many important commercial and recreational fish species, and they are highly vulnerable to disturbances with any damage taking decades or centuries to recover. This rule is a good step in protecting some corals in select areas, but more must be done to expand these protections in the Gulf of Maine.”
“With the climate crisis threatening ocean life as we know it, we are depending on our leaders to treat this situation with the urgency it demands,” said CLF President Bradley Campbell. “By appointing a highly regarded expert from New England, President Biden will have a NMFS leader who understands the perils our ocean faces and the promise it holds in a resilient future. CLF looks forward to working with Administrator Coit to restore healthy fisheries in New England and protect critical ocean species and habitat.”
“At least 32 right whales have been killed by human activities in the last three years alone, yet the federal government is still sitting on its hands,” said Erica Fuller a senior attorney at the Conservation Law Foundation. “The window to save this species is closing, and we’re left with no other option but to file this petition. The federal government must declare this situation what it is – an emergency – and take action to protect these animals now.”
“Atlantic cod is one of New England’s most iconic fish and it is in peril,” said Allison Lorenc, Policy Analyst at CLF. “Establishing a new understanding of catch through 100% monitoring will provide scientists and managers with the information they need to prevent overfishing and help species like cod recover to healthy populations. A sustainable fishery must be based on accurate data, and the fishery management council demonstrated their commitment to that today while also minimizing the economic burden on the industry.”
“The survival of the species cannot wait for endless debate on new protections,” said Erica Fuller, senior attorney at CLF. “The judge made it clear that the federal government needs to go back to the drawing board and meaningfully address all of the impacts of the lobster fishery on right whales. Today’s ruling will put a stop to the government’s endless foot-dragging on implementing new long term protections.”