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Posts Tagged ‘gadus morhua’

Gulf of Maine Cod Fishery Collapse Assisted by Warming Waters

Posted by feww on October 30, 2015

‘Slow adaptation in the face of rapid warming leads to collapse of the Gulf of Maine cod fishery’

Vital to New England’s fisheries, Atlantic cod is a key species in the Gulf of Maine ecosystem, say the authors of a new report released by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Researchers used sea surface temperature data to establish temperature trends in the Gulf of Maine since 1982 and over the last decade (2004-2013) and found the Gulf of Maine had experienced unprecedented decadal warming.

The recent 10 year warming trend is remarkable, even for a highly-variable part of the ocean like the northwest Atlantic. Over this period, substantial warming also occurred off of western Australia, in the western Pacific, and in the Barents Sea; and cooling was observed in the eastern Pacific and Bering Sea. The global ocean has a total area of 3.6 x 108 km2, yet only 3.1 x 105 km2 of the global ocean had warming rates greater than that in the Gulf of Maine over this time period. Thus, the Gulf of Maine has warmed faster than 99.9% of the global ocean between 2004 and 2013. Using sea surface temperatures from 1900-2013, the likelihood of any 2° by 2° segment of the ocean exceeding this 10-year warming rate is less than 0.3%. Based on this analysis, the Gulf of Maine experienced decadal warming that few marine ecosystems have encountered. 

The cod stocks today are on the verge of collapse estimated at only 4% of sustainable yield.

The most recent assessment found that SSB in this stock is now less than 3,000 mt, only 4% of the spawning stock biomass that gives the maximum sustainable yield (SSBmsy).

The report is posted at

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EU Cod Stocks Facing Collapse

Posted by feww on October 31, 2013

Cod and whiting in the West of Scotland risk  collapse: EU Fisheries Commission

The European Commission has proposed a continued ban in 2014 on landings of cod and whiting off Scotland’s Atlantic coast in an attempt to avert a collapse.

“Cod stocks in the Irish Sea and the Kattegat continue to be in a dire state…  Sole in the Irish Sea is at extremely low levels. Advice for haddock in the Celtic Sea demands a considerable TAC cut … Cod and whiting in the West of Scotland, subject to extremely high rates of discarding, are at a risk of collapse.” EU Fisheries Commission reported.

Cod stocks off most parts of Britain, Ireland and in the Bay of Biscay are also in a dire state, which means quotas should be reduced by up to 30 percent, according to the Greek EU fisheries commissioner.

Cod - Gadus morhua
Cod – gadus morhua. The British fish and chips industry is heavily dependent on cod, the country’s most consumed fish. International disputes over the prized species has so far led to two rounds of naval clashes between Britain and Iceland in the 1950s and 1970s.

“For stocks where data is not good enough to properly estimate their size, the Commission proposal reflects the advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) to adapt the TAC up or down by a maximum of 20%. Following a Council decision last year on precautionary reductions, TACS are proposed at the same level as in 2013 for 21 of these stocks,” said the Commission.


  • Total allowable catches (TACs) are catch limits that are set for most significant commercial fish stocks. TACs are proposed by the EU Commission on the basis of scientific advice on the state of the stocks concerned and decided on by the Council of Fisheries Ministers.
  • TACs are set annually for most stocks and every two years for deep sea species.
  • The TACs are shared between EU countries under a system known as ‘relative stability’ which keeps national quotas stable in relation to each other.

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