Auctions confirm renewed 'uptick' in cod

Both of Gloucester’s general fish auction houses are confirming reports by fishermen that cod — the fish that helped make this city the world’s oldest, most famous and, for a long time, its busiest fishing port — appears to be following its age-old pattern as it swims in increasing numbers into the shallow waters off Cape Ann.

“There’s a sign of life out there,” said Chris Duffy, general manager of the Cape Ann Fish Exchange.

“We knew it was going to happen just now,” said Vito Giacalone Jr., who operates Fishermen’s Wharf Gloucester with his two brothers.

Both men described the influx of cod as short of dramatic but nonetheless significant for an industry that is facing a potential 77 percent cutback in Gulf of Maine landings for the fishing year that begins May 1, and a regional shutdown on April 1, a rolling closure period for which the government has denied applications of sectors for a waiver.

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