National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



Norwegian cod harvesters are experiencing a problem that their New England brethren haven't for some years now: an overabundance of cod.

"It's paradoxical, but we have too many fish this year," Norwegian fisherman Kurt Ludvigsen told Reuters environment correspondent Alister Doyle. "Prices have fallen 30 percent... we're having to work far harder."

There will be little cod delivered by New England harvesters this year following major cuts to Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank catch limits that will begin in May. But the quota off Norway and Russia this year is a record 1.02 million metric tons, the Reuters article says. It's up one third from the 2012 quota and it's six times higher than the 1990 limit.

According to the article, one reason for the burgeoning cod population is that global warming has shifted the cod habitat northward. Strict quota management by Norway and Russia is also cited as a factor.

Meanwhile, despite the cod bounty, Norwegian fishermen say that it's proving difficult to convince European consumers that all cod stocks aren't in trouble. A Norway Seafood Council campaign designed to persuade the British to use Barents Sea cod in their fish and chips dinners isn't making much headway so far, the article says.

Maybe so. But even if the demand may not be all the Norwegians might hope for, at least the supply is there. The Reuters article offers hope that cod stocks can eventually return to health in New England, too. Restoring the health of the region's historic groundfish industry could prove to be the more difficult task.

Inside the Industry

NMFS has awarded 16 grants totaling more than $2.5 million as part of its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.

The program supports the development of technological solutions and changes in fishing practices designed to minimize bycatch and aims to to find creative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, seabird interactions, and post-release mortality in federally managed fisheries.


Abe Williams, who was elected to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board last spring, has been selected as the new president as of September.

Williams fishes the F/V Crimson Fury, and is president of Nuna Resources, a nonprofit that supports sustainable resource development in rural Alaska, including fighting for an international solution to issues raised by the proposed Pebble Mine project.

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