Extremely low cod numbers lead feds to close the Gulf of Alaska fishery for the first time
In an unprecedented response to historically low numbers of Pacific cod, the federal cod fishery in the Gulf of Alaska is closing for the 2020 season. It’s a decision that came as little surprise, but it’s the first time the fishery has closed due to concerns of low stock.
“We’re on the knife’s edge of this over-fished status,” North Pacific Fisheries Management Council member Nicole Kimball said during talks in Anchorage Friday afternoon.
It’s not over-fishing to blame for the die-off, but rather, climate change.
Warming ocean temperatures linked to climate change are wreaking havoc on a number of Alaska’s fisheries, worrying biologists, locals and fishermen with low returns that jeopardize fishing livelihoods.
A stock assessment this fall put Gulf cod populations at a historic low, with “next to no” new eggs, according to NOAA research biologist Steve Barbeaux, who authored the report.