New England’s Iconic Atlantic Cod on the Brink

Atlantic cod were once the lifeblood of New England’s economy. But decades of intensive overfishing and poor management decisions have devastated cod populations, creating a crisis in this fishery. We need to make drastic changes to how we manage New England’s most iconic fish before the population reaches the point of no return.

CLF in Action

For decades, CLF has advocated for healthy fisheries. But despite our efforts, fishery managers have failed in their duty to sustainably manage Atlantic cod. By favoring short-term economic gains over long-term conservation measures that would benefit the future of both New England’s fish and fishing families, they have virtually guaranteed the continued demise of cod.

We have a chance to bring back Atlantic cod. We’re advocating for improved conservation measures including catch limits based on accurate data and protection of critical habitat.

What’s at Stake

Cod was once a critical economic engine for the entire region. But today, cod populations linger at their lowest levels ever recorded. Cod in the Gulf of Maine and on Georges Bank, historically the most important fishing area east of Cape Cod, have collapsed.

Actions taken by fishery managers have largely contributed to cod’s demise. They have stripped protection for important cod habitat and increased catch limits even as both stocks remain overfished. Managers have also dragged out the process to improve the fishery’s at-sea monitoring program that would provide accurate and reliable data on how many cod are actually being caught. These decisions are especially short-sighted with warming waters putting cod in an even more precarious position.

The triple threat of overfishing, habitat degradation, and climate change could be the breaking point for New England cod. But CLF isn’t standing by and letting our region’s iconic fish – and the fishing families that depend on it – go quietly. We’re fighting to restore New England’s founding fish.