One of the two critical areas where New England fishermen search for cod may be in even worse shape than suspected.

Fishing managers already knew cod stocks in Georges Bank were thin, but new data from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center says research boats caught less of the fish this past spring than in all but one spring season dating back to 1968.

A report from the center, given to The Associated Press on Tuesday, states that the boats caught about 3.3 pounds of cod each time the net went in and out of the water last spring, compared to more than three times that amount two years earlier. Those numbers were routinely more than 20 pounds per trip in the late 1980s.

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