The groundfish committee of the New England Fishery Management Council is scheduled to meet today in Danvers with a new item on the agenda: the preliminary results of an unexpected NOAA assessment that shows a continuing and alarming deterioration in the Gulf of Maine cod stock.
“That will be on the agenda for (today) for the groundfish committee,” fishery council spokeswoman Pat Fiorelli said Saturday. “The full council will discuss peer-review options at the next full meeting at the end of September.”
Late Friday afternoon, NOAA released a stock assessment update for Gulf of Maine cod that the federal fishery management agency ominously said “presents a grim picture for the potential recovery of this iconic fish stock.”
The preliminary results through 2013 showed the cod stock, which has been at the very center of the federally declared groundfish disaster, is spawning at 3 to 4 percent of the biomass target, down from 13 to 18 percent in the 2011 assessment — levels well below those necessary for the biomass to sustain maximum sustainable yield.
The preliminary results also showed that all survey indices and spawning stock biomass are at all-time lows.
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