Haul of Atlantic cod, once abundant, reaches new low

Atlantic cod. Photo: NOAA

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — One of the oldest fishing industries in the U.S. sank to a new low in catch last year, signaling that efforts to rebuild the fishery still have a long way to go.

New England fishermen have caught Atlantic cod for centuries, but catch has dwindled over the last decade due to overfishing, restrictive fishing quotas and environmental changes.

State regulators said earlier this month that Maine fishermen brought fewer cod to the docks last year than any other in recorded history.

The state’s catch was more than 20 million pounds per year in the early 1990s and fell to less than 50,000 pounds in 2021.