If you read
any of the news coverage of the recently released assessment of Gulf of Maine cod, you probably came away with three things.
- Fishermen are seriously questioning the new assessment (this was the focus of many mainstream media reports, not to mention a lot of political rhetoric).
- The 2011 assessment – which indicates that the stock has been overfished in recent years and stands no chance of reaching rebuilt status by 2014, as hoped – was a dramatic reversal from the previous (2008) assessment, which had suggested that Gulf of Maine cod was on the rebound. The discrepancy is one reason fishermen have greeted the report so skeptically.
- The revised assessment has put the fear of
Godsevere catch restrictions – if not this year, then in subsequent years – into New England fishermen. That’s another reason fishermen and politicians are subjecting the new numbers to such scrutiny.
What you probably didn’t get was a good explanation of why the two assessments were so different. Have cod stocks really evaporated in the past three years? Or was one of the assessments in error? And, if so, which one? A few articles referred to the fact that there were differences in the data and computer model used. But the details I crave were sorely lacking.