Are lobster traps hurting Gulf of Maine cod fishery?
Emergency restrictions aimed at protecting plummeting cod stocks, set to go into effect Thursday in the Gulf of Maine, have some fishermen complaining that one group that routinely kills cod won’t be affected by the new rules – the region’s lobstermen.
In 2008, the year for which the most recent data are available, an estimated 177,000 codfish were captured in lobster traps in state waters off Maine.
Fishing boats with gill nets and trawl gear are banned from coastal waters where cod stocks gather and spawn, but lobster boats face none of those restrictions. Moreover, none of the data about cod mortality in the lobster fishery is included in population projections used to set fishing regulations for cod.