Catch limits set to take effect this week will take a bite out of an industry that dates back to America's Colonial past: New England cod.
The stricter quota on cod taken from the Gulf of Maine – a 75 percent cut from the current year – will also affect the catch of other similar fish, meaning New England fishermen and seafood dealers expect a year of meager supply and high prices for several popular fish.
The New England Fishery Management Council voted last year to reduce the total allowable Gulf of Maine cod catch limit from 1,550 to 386 metric tons starting May 1. Conservationists say the rules are needed to save cod from commercial extinction.
But Gulf of Maine cod are what fishermen call a "choke species," as they must also stop fishing for some other species when the cod fishery shuts down. Haddock, pollock and hake – groundfish that, like cod, dwell on the ocean bottom and share space with it in markets, restaurants and seafood auctions – will also be harder to come by.
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