The School of Marine Sciences presents
Dr. Michael Palmer
Northeast Fisheries Science Center
By the mid to late 1990s the biomass of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) in the Gulf of Maine had declined by over 50% from the early 1980s. These declines, along with those of other regional groundfish stocks, led to severe fishery management measures throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s which were intended to reduce overall fishing mortality and rebuild fish stocks. In 2008, an updated stock assessment suggested that the Gulf of Maine cod spawning stock biomass had dramatically increased to 58% of the target biomass levels with the stock projected to be fully rebuilt by 2010. Around the same time, the fishing industry was reporting large aggregations of cod just a short distance from the primary fishing ports in the western Gulf of Maine and catch per unit effort was increasing – seemingly confirming the results from the 2008 stock assessment. The recovery of Gulf of Maine cod appeared imminent.
A 2011 stock assessment revised the spawning stock biomass estimates downward by more than 70%. Since then, three subsequent assessments have shown continued declines, with the most recent estimating the Gulf of Maine cod stock at less than 6% of the target biomass. The low stock size coincides with other concerning indicators of stock health: truncation in the size and age structure, a decade of poor recruitment, and a sever contraction of the spatial range. Instead of a recovery, the fishery is facing an economical and biological collapse. What happened? Through a detailed post-mortem examination of the recent science and management of Gulf of Maine cod, this paper provides important lessons for the future assessment and management of this resource.
Host: Yong Chen
All School of Marine Science seminars are in Room 354, Aubert Hall at 11:00 a.m. on Fridays. Refreshments are available at 10:45 a.m. A voluntary brown bag lunch involving the speaker will follow the seminar to generate interdisciplinary discussions around the presented marine science topic.
For more information, contact Susan Brawley at email@example.com.