An Iconic Fish on the Brink of Being Lost Forever

Atlantic cod were once the lifeblood of New England’s economy. But today, intense overfishing has devastated cod populations, leading to a crisis in this iconic fishery. Climate change is only making things worse. Recent stock assessments indicate that some populations hover at just 1 percent and 7 percent of the level scientists say is “sustainable.”

CLF in Action

CLF is taking on the New England Fishery Management Council, the governing body responsible for setting and enforcing fishing regulations. For years, the Council has failed in its duty to protect Atlantic cod and other groundfish populations, including haddock and flounder. Instead, they have slashed habitat protections and left fishing quotas too high. By favoring short-term economic gains over the long-term future of New England’s fishing families, they have virtually guaranteed the continued demise of Atlantic cod.

We’re pushing the Council to protect large cod habitat areas and to ensure that the models that assess stock populations – and on which fishing quotes are based – are grounded in science and ecosystem-based management principles. We’re also working to improve data collection efforts on our fisheries to ensure the data is accurate and credible in helping to chart a path forward.