US deal with Canada over Atlantic cod stokes tensions

Published on
September 28, 2016

The United States and Canada will make the best of what is left of the fleeting Atlantic cod fishing business in North America next year, after the neighboring countries struck an agreement to split the quota of what remains.

The agreement reached between the countries entails the setting of a total allowable catch (TAC) at 730 metric tons in 2017, with the United States allowed 146 metric tons and Canada acquiring the rest. The deal is an 8-metric-ton increase for the U.S. and a 96 metric ton jump for Canada. The New England Fishery Management Council gave the agreement its approval on 21 September, a decision that has left some U.S. fishers concerned, according to The Salem News.

“Cod fish is very important to the United States, as it is to Canada,” said Jackie Odell, executive director of the Gloucester-based Northeast Seafood Coalition, to the newspaper. “The sharing agreement hasn’t worked out very well for the U.S. fishery.”

The paper noted that the council made a vote to cut U.S. fishermen’s total Gulf of Maine cod catch limit from 1,550 metric tons to 386 metric tons in 2014; the U.S.’s total Georges Bank cod quota was also narrowed by the council from 1,787 metric tons to 608 metric tons last year. As of now, the quota stands at 280 metric tons for Gulf of Maine cod catch.

The faltering presence of Atlantic cod in New England has been attributed to overfishing and warming ocean temperatures, which make it difficult for fish to reproduce at a rate to make up for stock losses, according the scientific community.

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