Last updated on 27 October 2016

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Gadus morhua

SPECIES NAME(s)

Atlantic cod

 


ANALYSIS

Strengths

The assessment process includes many best practices including an age-structured model and an independent peer review. The assessment has improved in quality. Compliance has been high. Assessment is scheduled to be updated or peer reviewed in 2015.

Weaknesses

The stock is chronically both overfished and undergoing overfishing. Rebuilding plans have not been successful. Stock is in a low productivity regime and is unlikely to achieve rebuilding targets in the near future. Further declines are probable.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

0

Managers Compliance:

10

Fishers Compliance:

10

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

2.2

Future Health:

0


RECOMMENDATIONS

CATCHERS & REGULATORS

1. Support maintenance of existing closed areas to cod harvest as a tool to help rebuilding, including when decisions are expected at the US New England Fishery Management Council meetings.
2. If closed areas are opened, limit fishing to exempted gear types and require 100% observer coverage.
3. Conduct stock structure and population dynamic research to ensure stock boundaries between this stock and the Georges Bank stock are appropriate.

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN

1. Companies sourcing from the stock should communicate their support for maintaining closed areas to national and regional administrations.
2. Companies not currently sourcing from this fishery should avoid doing so until sufficient recovery is seen in the stock. Companies should however encourage regulators to maintain existing closed areas.


FIPS

No related FIPs

CERTIFICATIONS

No related MSC fisheries

Fisheries

Within FishSource, the term "fishery" is used to indicate each unique combination of a flag country with a fishing gear, operating within a particular management unit, upon a resource. That resource may have a known biological stock structure and/or may be assessed at another level for practical or jurisdictional reasons. A fishery is the finest scale of resolution captured in FishSource profiles, as it is generally the scale at which sustainability can most fairly and practically be evaluated.

ASSESSMENT UNIT MANAGEMENT UNIT FLAG COUNTRY FISHING GEAR
Gulf of Maine US Gulf of Maine United States Bottom trawls
Gillnets and entangling nets
Longlines

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 27 October 2016

Strengths

The assessment process includes many best practices including an age-structured model and an independent peer review. The assessment has improved in quality. Compliance has been high. Assessment is scheduled to be updated or peer reviewed in 2015.

Weaknesses

The stock is chronically both overfished and undergoing overfishing. Rebuilding plans have not been successful. Stock is in a low productivity regime and is unlikely to achieve rebuilding targets in the near future. Further declines are probable.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 28 June 2016

Improvement Recommendations to Catchers & Regulators

1. Support maintenance of existing closed areas to cod harvest as a tool to help rebuilding, including when decisions are expected at the US New England Fishery Management Council meetings.
2. If closed areas are opened, limit fishing to exempted gear types and require 100% observer coverage.
3. Conduct stock structure and population dynamic research to ensure stock boundaries between this stock and the Georges Bank stock are appropriate.

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain

1. Companies sourcing from the stock should communicate their support for maintaining closed areas to national and regional administrations.
2. Companies not currently sourcing from this fishery should avoid doing so until sufficient recovery is seen in the stock. Companies should however encourage regulators to maintain existing closed areas.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 27 October 2016

The Gulf of Maine Atlantic cod stock (GOM) was assessed by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in 2012. The results are substantially different from those from a similar examination conducted in 2008. Two population assessment models were developed, based on the age-structured model (ASAP). In one model (M[~0.2~]), natural mortality, M, was assumed to be 0.2 for all years. The other model (M[~Ramp~]) was implemented with M=0.2 from 1982 to 1988, and M=0.4 between 2003 and 2011, with a linear ramp between 1989 and 2002. These values of M were applied to all ages (NEFSC, 2013). 

The assessments include updated recreational catch estimates, revised discard mortality estimates and minor modifications to the Massachusetts Department of Marine Fisheries (MADMF) spring survey. Discard mortality was assumed to vary by gear type and fishery (commercial, recreational). This represents a change from the previous assessment that assumed 100% mortality of all discarded. There is considerable uncertainty associated with natural mortality rates. As the 2012 observations were not incorporated into the assessment formulations, the projections are likely to be optimistic. If recent weak recruitment of Gulf of Maine cod continues, productivity and rebuilding of the stock will be less than projected (NEFSC, 2013).

The assessment for Cod is scheduled to be updated in 2015.

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 27 October 2016

The distribution of the fishery has reduced substantially over the past two decades. It is unclear if the stock distribution has contracted or if the stock structure is misdefined and local sub-stocks have disappeared, but this will impact on rebuilding efforts (Sherwood, 2011).

The new assessment indicates that increasing GOM cod to the rebuilding stock size target is not possible by 2014, even if no cod are harvested by fisheries between now and then. This indicates that the GOM cod rebuilding program is not making adequate progress (Federal Register, 2012). In response of that, interim measures for 2012 fishing year were implemented.

Acceptable Biological Catches (ABC) are based on recommendations from the New England Fishery Management Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee (NOAA, 2010b). For the interim action no ABC has been set by the Council. To determine sub-Annual Catch Limits(ACL).

Reference Points

Last updated on 27 Oct 2016

Fishing mortality reference point F40% is the recommended proxy for FMSY and was re-estimated as 0.18 in 2012. Considering the M0.2 model, the biomass target, SSBMSY, was determined to be 54,742 tonnes and the proxy for MSY is 9,399 tonnes. Half this value is considered as the Bthreshold = 27,372 tonnes (NEFSC, 2013). For the MRamp model, the SSBMSY is 80,200 tonnes and the MSY is 13,786 tonnes.

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 27 October 2016

The Gulf of Maine Atlantic cod stock (GOM) is overfished and overfishing is occurring. Spawning stock biomass (SSB) in 2011 is estimated to be 9,903 tonnes or 10,221 tonnes which is 18% or 13% of the SSBMSY proxy (54,743 tonnes or 80,200 tonnes) in the M0.2 or MRamp models, respectively. The 2011 fully selected fishing mortality is estimated to be 0.86 or 0.90 which is about 4 or 5 times the FMSY proxy (0.18 for both models). Over the last five years recruitment estimates have declined to a low level in both assessments. If recent weak recruitment of Gulf of Maine cod continues, productivity and rebuilding of the stock will be less than projected (NEFSC, 2013).
 

Trends

Last updated on 27 Oct 2016

Spawning biomass fell to almost 10,000 tons in the early 1980s before increasing again to over 20,000 tons in 1990. During the 1990s it fell again, to as low as 7,300 tons in 1998. Since then SSB has fluctuated in the 8,000-15,000 ton range. SSB has been below its threshold level (determined in 2012 as 27,362 tons) since the start of the time series in 1982. Total biomass has followed similar trends to SSB (NEFSC, 2012).

Fishing mortality for fully recruited sized fish increased in the late 1980s and peaked in 1993 at 1.49. A decrease followed to around 0.5 in 1999 but a subsequent increasing trend aggravated from 2008 and F in 2009 reached 0.98 (NEFSC, 2013). Over its historical time series (since 1982), F has never decreased below F[~MSY~] (0.2).
Recruitment has been below average since 2007. The 2005 year class was thought to be very strong but has proven to not be so, although above average (NEFSC, 2012).

Total catches have followed SSB and total biomass trends, decreasing during the 1980s to almost 11,000 tons in 1988, then increasing rapidly to a 1991 peak of over 22,000 tons. A steep decline followed, bottoming out at 4,000 tons in 1999. From 2006, catches have been increasing, largely due to an increase in recreational landings and a large proportion of recreational discards (NEFSC, 2012).
 

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 27 October 2016

The stock is managed by the New England Fishery Management Council on the basis of maximum sustainable yield (MSY) reference points and since 2006 has been under a rebuilding plan. Since 1994, unsuccessful measures have been introduced to reduce fishing effort and seasonal and year-round closed areas declared (NDWG, 2011). Catch limits are set for both commercial and recreational fisheries, and have been set below recommended in recent years. This stock is subject to bycatch restrictions in other fisheries that catch haddock incidentally or discards. Once this cap is reached the non-directed fishery is closed to prevent overages.
 

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 27 Oct 2016

Regulations introduced in 2006 formalized the implementation of a rebuilding plan. This plan was substantially altered in 2010 by Amendment 16 to the Fishery Management Plan, which required that the Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) be set based on 75% of FMSY for this stock, equal to 0.18 based on the previous assessment (NOAA, 2010a).  Rebuilding has not been successful (NOAA, 2012a). Interim measures for 2012 fishing year were implemented, but it is unknown if these will be effective.

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 27 October 2016

Discarding of Gulf of Maine cod in all commercial fisheries conducted in the region constituted a large proportion of catches prior to 2003, but recently has reduced to below 10% of catches (NEFSC, 2013). Discards in the recreational fishery remain high representing 17% of recreational catches in 2011 (NEFSC, 2013). Compliance with catch limits has been generally strong in recent years. Recreational catch estimates are highly uncertain.
 

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species
US Gulf of Maine
United States
Bottom trawls

Last updated on 27 October 2016

The directed fishery impacts Bottlenose dolphin, Common dolphin, Fin whale, Gray seal, Harbor porpoise, Harbor seal, Harp seal, Hooded seal, Humpback whale, Minke whale, North Atlantic right whale, Risso’s dolphin, White-sided dolphin, and Atlantic Sturgeon(NMFS, 2014). The Bottom Trawl Fishery has little to no impact but is rated as a Category 2 fishery with associated management measures to prevent most interactions.

Other Species
US Gulf of Maine
United States
Bottom trawls

Last updated on 27 October 2016

The incidental and directed fishery is part of the of the NE US multi-species groundfish fishery. While bycatch in this fishery is substantial, much of this incidental catch is now retained and counted against the individual species quota. Both directed and non directed fisheries are subject to closure should these others stock achieve their yearly quota. At-sea monitoring has increased substantial in recent years. Seasonal closures are effort controls are also used to minimize impacts (NEFMC, 2014). Stocks encountered in the fishery include dogfish, haddock, window pane flounder, and skate.

Because of the mixed nature of groundfish species, the haddock fishery often catches other species including cod, flounder, and pollock. Some of these stocks have bycatch quotas associated with them, effectively closing haddock landings when the catch of these other stocks/species nears the quota.

HABITAT
US Gulf of Maine
United States
Bottom trawls

Last updated on 27 October 2016

The trawl fishery has some bottom impact, particularly in the areas of hard substrate. However a lengthy management process is currently underway to close very sensitive areas.Seasonal closures, gear modifications, and other management measures are also in place (NEFMC, 2014).

Marine Reserves

Last updated on 27 Oct 2016

Stellwagen Bank as well as other areas are completely closed to this fishery as well as other gear types in the NE groundfish fishery.As such there is a network of areas closed to all fishing gears through the region, to protect habitats, reduce fishing mortality on juvenile fishes, and to conserve discreet spawning units (NEFMC, 2014).

FishSource Scores

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2011 data.

The score is 0.0.

This measures the F as a percentage of the F management target.

The F is 0.860 . The F management target is 0.180 .

The underlying F/F management target for this index is 478%.

As calculated for 2014 data.

The score is 10.0.

This measures the Set TAC as a percentage of the ABC.

The Set TAC is 1.47 ('000 t). The ABC is 1.50 ('000 t) .

The underlying Set TAC/ABC for this index is 98.0%.

As calculated for 2012 data.

The score is 10.0.

This measures the Catch as a percentage of the Set TAC.

The Catch is 3.90 ('000 t). The Set TAC is 6.70 ('000 t) .

The underlying Catch/Set TAC for this index is 58.2%.

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2011 data.

The score is 2.2.

This measures the SSB as a percentage of the SSBlim.

The SSB is 9.90 ('000 t). The SSBlim is 27.4 ('000 t) .

The underlying SSB/SSBlim for this index is 36.2%.

As calculated for 2011 data.

The score is 0.0.

This measures the F as a percentage of the F management target.

The F is 0.860 . The F management target is 0.180 .

The underlying F/F management target for this index is 478%.

To see data for biomass, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for catch and tac, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for fishing mortality, please view this site on a desktop.
No data available for recruitment
No data available for recruitment
To see data for management quality, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for stock status, please view this site on a desktop.
DATA NOTES

Notes: 1) A qualitative score has been determined for score #1, based on the recent rebuilding strategy. 2) The catch and TAC series are for all gears, not just gillnet, and are commercial landings only up to 2007 and both commercial and recreational from 2008. Catches do not include estimates of discards.

Download Source Data

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

No related MSC certifications

Sources

Credits
  1. Mayo, R. and O'Brien, L. 2006. Atlantic Cod. Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank stocks; Status of Fishery Resources off the Northeastern US NEFSC - Resource Evaluation and Assessment Division. http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/sos/spsyn/pg/cod/
  2. Mayo RK, Col LA. 2006. The 2005 assessment of the Gulf of Maine Atlantic cod stock. US Dep Commer, Northeast Fish Sci Cent Ref Doc. 06-02; 109 p.http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/nefsc/publications/crd/crd0602/
  3. Mayo, R.K.; Shepherd, G.; O’Brien, L.; Col, L.A.; Traver, M. 2009. The 2008 assessment of the Gulf of Maine Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) stock. US Dept Commer, Northeast Fish Sci Cent Ref Doc. 09-03; 128.http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/nefsc/publications/crd/crd0903/crd0903.pdf
  4. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), 2010. Endangered Species Act Section 7 Consultation Biological Opinion. http://www.nero.noaa.gov/prot_res/section7/NMFS-signedBOs/MULTISPECIES%20BIOP%202010.pdf
  5. National Marine Protected Area Center (NMPAC), 2011. List of National Marine Protected Areas.http://www.mpa.gov/pdf/helpful-resources/national_system_list_long_2011_0330.pdf
  6. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2009. Federal Register Monday, April 13, 2009 Part III. 50 CFR Part 648; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Secretarial Interim Action; Final Rule.http://frwebgate1.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/PDFgate.cgi?WAISdocID=8V9rlv/3/2/0&WAISaction=retrieve
  7. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2010a. Federal Register Vol. 75, No. 68. 15 CFR Part 902; 50 CFR Part 648; Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast (NE) Multispecies Fishery; Amendement 16; Final Rule.http://www.nero.noaa.gov/nero/regs/frdoc/10/10MultiAmend16FR.pdf
  8. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2010b. Federal Register Vol. 75, No. 68. 50 CFR Part 648. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Framework Adjustment 44.http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2010-04-09/pdf/2010-7235.pdf
  9. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2011. NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources. Cetaceans: Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises.http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/mammals/cetaceans/
  10. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2012a. Fishing Year 2012 Gulf of Maine Atlantic Cod Potential Interim Catch Information. Gulf of Maine Cod Working Group Meeting, Portsmouth Harbor Events & Conference Center, Portsmouth, NH. Presented by Mike Ruccio, Northeast Regional Office.http://www.nero.noaa.gov/nero/hotnews/gomcod/2012GOMCodWorkGroupPresV2.pdf
  11. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2012b. An overview of the 2011 Gulf of Maine Atlantic cod assessment. Presented by Mike Palmer (NEFSC).http://www.nero.noaa.gov/nero/hotnews/gomcod/1iGOM_SSC_meeting_120125_final_v2.pdf
  12. NEFSC (Northeast Fisheries Science Center) (last assessed in June 2008). NMFS Northeast Multispecies Preliminary Fisheries Statistics Reports.http://www.nero.noaa.gov/ro/fso/mul.htm
  13. New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC), 2007. Northeast Region Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodology: An Omnibus Amendment to the Fishery Management Plans of the Mid-Atlantic and New England Regional Fishery Management Councils. http://www.nefmc.org/issues/sbrm/index.html
  14. New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC), 2009. Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) Recommendations for the Northeast Multispecies Fishery. To: Paul J. Howard, Executive Director; From: Dr. Steve Cadrin, Chairman, Scientific and Statistical Committee; Date: September 23, 2009.http://www.nefmc.org/tech/Reports/Reports%20to%20Council%202009/Groundfish/SSCSep09%20groundfish%20_5_.pdf
  15. New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC), 2011. Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) Omnibus Amendment “The Swept Area Seabed Impact (SASI) Model: A Tool for Analyzing the Effects of Fishing on Essential Fish Habitat.http://www.nefmc.org/habitat/index.html
  16. New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC), 2012. Framework Adjustment 47 To the Northeast Multispecies FMP Including an Environmental Assessment, Regulatory Impact Review & Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis.http://www.nefmc.org/nemulti/index.html
  17. Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC), 2008b. Executive Summary Groundfish Assessment Review Meeting (GARM) III Overview. http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/nefsc/publications/crd/crd0815/pdfs/exsum.pdfv
  18. Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC), 2011. 52nd Northeast Regional Stock Assessment Workshop (52nd SAW): Assessment Summary Report (2nd Edition). http://nefsc.noaa.gov/publications/crd/crd1111/crd1111.pdf
  19. Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC), 2012. 53rd Northeast Regional Stock Assessment Workshop (53rd SAW): Assessment Summary Report. http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/publications/crd/crd1203/crd1203.pdf
  20. Northern Demersal Working Group (NDWG), 2011. Stock Assessment Workshop (SAW 53). A. Gulf of Maine Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) stock assessment updated through 2010: A report of the Northern Demersal Working Group.http://www.nero.noaa.gov/nero/hotnews/gomcod/GoM_cod_SAW53_AssessmentReport-WP1_11142011.pdf
  21. Orphanides, C.D., 2010a. Update on Harbor Porpoise Take Reduction Plan Monitoring Initiatives: Compliance and Consequential Bycatch Rates from June 2008 through May 2009. Northeast Fisheries Science Center Reference Document 10-22.http://nefsc.noaa.gov/publications/crd/crd1022/crd1022.pdf
  22. Orphanides, C.D., 2010b. Estimates of Cetacean and Pinniped Bycatch in the 2007 and 2008 Northeast Sink Gillnet and Mid-Atlantic Gillnet Fisheries. Northeast Fisheries Science Center Reference Document 10-10.http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/publications/crd/crd1010/.pdf
  23. Orphanides, C.D., 2011. Estimates of Cetacean and Pinniped Bycatch in the 2009 New England Sink Gillnet and Mid-Atlantic Gillnet Fisheries. Northeast Fisheries Science Center Reference Document 11-08.http://nefsc.noaa.gov/publications/crd/crd1108/1108.pdf
  24. ortheast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC), 2008. Panel Summary Report of the Groundfish Assessment Review Meeting (GARM III). Part 3. Biological Reference Points. Northeast Fish. Sci. Cent., Woods Hole, Massachusetts.http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/saw/GARMIII/Garm%20III_BRPs_report_6%20june%202008_final%20corrected.pdf
  25. Upite, C.M., 2011. Evaluating Sea Turtle Injuries in Northeast Fishing Gear Report of the Sea Turtle Injury Workshop, November 17-18, 2009 Boston, Massachusetts and Technical Guidelines for Assessing Injuries of Sea Turtles Observed in Northeast Region Fishing Gear. Northeast Fisheries Science Center Reference Document 11-10. http://nefsc.noaa.gov/publications/crd/crd1110/crd1110.pdf
  26. Wigley, S.E., J. Blaylock, P.J. Rago, J. Tang, H.L. Haas, and G. Shield, 2011. Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodology 3-year Review Report – 2011 Part 1. Northeast Fisheries Science Center. http://nefsc.noaa.gov/publications/crd/crd1109/crd1109.pdf
References

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