Sea burial for Canada’s cod fisheries

The Canadian government has declared an end to cod fishing in nearly all of the country’s Atlantic waters.

The ban, announced April 24 by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the equivalent of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, effectively eliminates the remnants of an industry that has been in crisis for years. It halts cod fishing in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the once-bountiful waters off Newfoundland, where mariners have harvested cod for more than 500 years.

Overfishing and environmental changes caused cod stocks to tumble in recent decades. In an effort to help the fish recover, Canada sharply curtailed annual catches in 1992, but that measure failed to stop the cod’s decline.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada says some financial assistance will be available to the estimated 3,300 cod industry workers affected by the ban. About 40,000 workers lost jobs when the 1992 restrictions set in.

Last fall, European officials rejected a proposed cod-fishing ban in the North Sea, where fish stocks have also crashed.


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