Federal Fishing Policies Set to End Cod Fishing in New England

New government regulations on the taking of Atlantic Cod may soon put cod fishing out of the reach of the average American.

"Irish Ayes" Captain Gene Kelly and wife, Debbie

Government regulators are setting lower quotas for the recreational fisherman. This includes the Charter fishing community. 2012 Quotas for “non-Commercial” fishermen are down to just 9 cod fish per person a day and rumors are flying that even stricter quotas will be imposed in 2013. Some believe that a 2 fish per fisherman limit is already in the works. “This will be the death of the small charter boats!” laments a local charter captain, who wishes to remain anonymous. “A lot of our business comes from out of staters who are not going to spend the money to travel here to catch a few fish! We are commercial fishermen too!”

This is what we want to catch when we cod fish!

Recreational fishermen also will feel the loss. And to make matters worse, the “commercial” fishermen, the draggers and gill netters etc… were allowed to fish the banks most of the winter and reports from Stellwagen Bank fishermen is there are no fish to be had!   Last year there were plenty of fish in April and May. Now boats, (charters and private) are returning to port with little or no catch. “Why is it always the “little guy” who suffers,” asked Peter Cahill, leader of  www.bitemebaitco.com “Why take it out on us when the by-catch kill by the “Pro’s” is what’s killing the industry. Who can afford to go deep sea fishing and only take two cod?”

What we caught in 2011!


This is 2012

Local businesses  that rely on fishermen and women to come and spend their money, are worried too. Bait and Tackle Shop owners, local restaurants, hotels and motels need the fishing community to remain strong. If the local fishing communities shut down due to regulations and quotas, it will affect a large piece of the economy. Already the economic recession and price of gasoline has reduced the numbers who come to fish.  And it can only get worse.

Pronk at Green Harbor Bait and Tackle!
     At Anita Maries in Rockland, owner Vivian, cooks for the local fishing crowd before joining them herself. “I love all the stories and friendships we all have formed here. I would hate to see the 0400 fishing crowd disappear. We have so much fun not to mention the fish and clams they bring me.” she laughed. “That’s how my family got interested, and now we have a boat ourselves. When the cooking’s done, it’s ASAP to the dock.”

Where Fishermen gather to start the day!

The Recreational Fishing Alliance and other organizations representing the non-commercial fishermen are up against a strong lobbying effort by the other side and has to constantly be aware of what is going on in Washington. If you care about your future as a fisherman, pay attention. Cod isn’t the only fish in the government eyes. Tuna, striped bass and other sought-after fish, are facing tougher regulation also.

Some of cod fishing's best moments.

From Canada to Cape Cod, overfishing has taken its toll. But it isn’t the Charter Boat or the Recreational fishermen’s fault.  The fault lies with regulators and the commercial fishing industry. Once again, it appears that money guides the hand of government. What will happen in the wake of such irresponsibility? Only time will tell.

Is it the end of the Atlantic Cod fishing?

Elmer Mudguaard