PORTLAND, Maine — The rapid warming of waters off New England is a key factor in the collapse of the region's cod fishery, and changes to the species' management are needed to save one of America's oldest industries, according to a report published Thursday in Science magazine.
Fishery managers say cod spawning in the Gulf of Maine — a key fishing area between Cape Cod and Canada that touches Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire — is only about 3 percent of sustainable levels, and participants in the fishery that dates to the Colonial era face dramatic quota cuts as a result.
The scientists behind the Science report say the warming of the Gulf of Maine, which accelerated from 2004 to 2013, reduced cod's capacity to rebound from fishing pressure. The report gives credence to the idea — supported by advocacy groups, fishing managers and even some fishermen — that climate change has played a role in cod's collapse.
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