UPDATE... 6:27 PM Wed. New England Fisheries Management Council recommends cutting Cod fishing limits in the Gulf of Maine by 77% and in George's Bank by 55%. This is critical, fisherman say, because catching cod leads to catching other fish like haddock. They say the cuts are devastating.
PORTSMOUTH, New Hampshire (NEWS CENTER) - The New England Fishery Management Council met Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to approve major cutbacks that would likely cripple Maine's fishing industry.
The council approved 77% cuts to the cod stock in the waters of the Gulf of Maine. That's a drastic cut in the amount that fishermen can haul.
Top fishing regulators acknowledge the cuts will devastate the industry in New England but they say there's little they can do to prevent them. They say they are bound by law to reduce overfishing. They say Cod stocks in the Gulf of Maine and George's Bank are alarming low with no signs of rebounding.
If the cuts for this year Cod catch limits had been reduced by 80-percent, that would limit fishermen to 1249 metric tons. It wasn't that long ago that fishermen would be hauling in 8000 metric tons.
Angelo Ciocca runs the Portland fish processor Nova Seafood. He also has an interest in several fishing vessels.
"These guys are at the end of their rope. They're small businesses, they don't have deep pockets, they need revenue just to stay alive, pay their mortgages", he said.
Fishermen say what's especially frustrating is they've dealt with all the cuts up until now and still they're being asked to give up more.