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Can New England’s cod fishing industry survive?

Scientists and fishers agree that cod fishery is at a crisis point – but they disagree on what’s causing it

It’s said cod were once so plentiful in New England they would throw themselves into a boat. It’s said you could walk across their backs to shore.

Gloucester, Massachusetts, grew up around cod. The waterfront teemed with boats and fishermen, heaps of fish thrashing in wire baskets. Boats were inherited from fathers and shipyards boasted of operating since 1684. As late as the 1980s, the cod were so abundant and large (30-50lb each) that the fishermen still brought in big hauls. Cod remains the state fish of Massachusetts.

Related: We are eating shrimp in record numbers. But for how much longer?

Before, people used to go out fishing and catch whatever they wanted. Now we’re the most regulated fishery in the world

We shouldn’t expect fishermen and scientists to see the same things, given the way each group observes the population

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