Rec cod fishing banned

AUGUSTA The Department of Marine Resources has adopted an emergency rule that shuts down the recreational cod fishery in Maine waters.

Effective immediately, the rule prohibits recreational fishermen aboard a party, charter or private recreational fishing boat operating in Maine state waters from landing or possessing cod. The rule also reduces the legal minimum size for haddock from 21 inches to 17 to reduce mortality.

According to the DMR, the most recent updates to the NOAA Fisheries stock assessments for Gulf of Maine cod indicate the stock is in severe decline. Landings of haddock also exceeded the catch limit in place for the 2014 fishing year that ended April 30.

Because the recreational overage was substantial, federal fisheries managers decided that significant changes in management measures are required to ensure the recreational fishery does not exceed its catch limit again in the 2015 fishing year.

According to NOAA Fisheries, the necessary cuts represent a 78 percent reduction for Atlantic cod and an 84 percent reduction for haddock, from their actual estimated 2014 recreational catches.

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