BOSTON (AP) — New England lawmakers are asking the U.S. Commerce Secretary for an emergency assessment of the abundance of cod in the Gulf of Maine.

Friday’s letter to John Bryson echoes a request earlier this week by U.S. Sen. John Kerry.

The six lawmakers are also asking Bryson to freeze the cod catch limit at its current level until the study is complete.

Fishermen are facing devastating cuts in cod catch next year after new data indicated it was being severely overfished. That’s a reversal of an optimistic 2008 assessment of cod, and fishermen are skeptical of the preliminary numbers.

Scientists, though, say initial reviews indicate their data is solid.

Friday’s letter was signed by Reps. Barney Frank, John Tierney and William Keating of Massachusetts, Chellie Pingree and Michael Michaud of Maine and New Hampshire’s Frank Guinta.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.


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