BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry has asked the U.S. Commerce Secretary to immediately conduct a new assessment of the health of cod in the Gulf of Maine after recent data signaled drastic fishing cuts could be coming to protect the fish.
The letter sent Wednesday to John Bryson and federal fishery regulators also asked for help preparing an economic assistance package for fishermen, in case the cuts come.
Kerry wrote it was crucial for regulators to develop a fair, sound response that fishermen trust.
The new data indicating the cod is badly overfished has drawn skepticism from fishermen because it’s a reversal from a study just three years earlier that said the stock was getting stronger.
If the numbers are verified, it could mean severe cuts or a total shutdown on codfishing, which would devastate the industry.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.