Collapse of the Atlantic northwest cod fishery

In the summer of 1992, when the Northern Cod biomass fell to 1% of earlier levels,[3] the Canadian Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, John Crosbie, declared a moratorium on the Northern Cod fishery, which for the preceding 500 years had largely shaped the lives and communities of Canada's eastern coast.[4] A major factor that contributed to the depletion of the cod stocks off the shores of Newfoundland was the introduction of equipment and technology that increased the volume of landed fish.[5] From the 1950s onwards, new technology allowed fishermen to trawl a larger area, fish deeper and for a longer time. By the 1960s, powerful trawlers equipped with radar, electronic navigation systems and sonar allowed crews to pursue fish with unparalleled success, and Canadian catches peaked in the late 1970s and early 1980s.[6] Cod stocks were effectively being depleted at a greater rate than could be replenished.[7]

Also, the trawlers caught enormous amounts of non-commercial fish, which were economically unimportant but very important ecologically. This incidental catch undermines ecosystem stability, depleting stocks of important predator and prey species. With the northern cod, significant amounts of capelin – an important prey species for the cod – were caught as bycatch, further undermining the survival of the remaining cod stock. Approximately 35,000 fishermen and fish plant workers lost their jobs due to the collapse of the cod fisheries, with a devastating impact for many Newfoundland communities. The collapse of the northern cod fishery marked a profound change in the ecological, economic and socio-cultural structure of Atlantic Canada. The moratorium in 1992 was the largest industrial closure in Canadian history.

Time series for collapse of Atlantic northwest cod
Capture of the Atlantic northwest cod stock in million tonnes, with Canadian capture in blue[8]
Time series for Atlantic northwest cod minus Canada
Capture of the Atlantic northwest cod stock in million tonnes, apart from Canada[8]
Surexploitation morue surpêcheEn
The Atlantic fishery abruptly collapsed in 1992, following overfishing since the late 1950s, and an earlier partial collapse in the 1970s.[1][2]

Technological factors

A major factor that contributed to the depletion of the cod stocks off the shores of Newfoundland included the introduction and proliferation of equipment and technology that increased the volume of landed fish. For centuries local fishermen used technology that limited the volume of their catch, the area they fished, and let them target specific species and ages of fish.[9] From the 1950s onwards, as was common in all industries at the time, new technology was introduced that allowed fishermen to trawl a larger area, fish deeper and for a longer time. By the 1960s, powerful trawlers equipped with radar, electronic navigation systems and sonar allowed crews to pursue fish with unparalleled success, and Canadian catches peaked in the late 1970s and early 1980s.[10]

The new technologies adversely affected the northern cod population by both increasing the area and depth that was fished, the cod were being depleted until the surviving fish could not replenish the stock lost each year;[11] and secondly, the trawlers caught enormous amounts of non-commercial fish, which were economically unimportant but very important ecologically: incidental catch undermines ecosystem stability, depleting stocks of important predator and prey species. With the northern cod, significant amounts of capelin – an important prey species for the cod – were caught as bycatch, further undermining the survival of the remaining cod stock.


An imperfect understanding of the ocean ecosystem associated with Newfoundland's cod fisheries, and technical and environmental challenges associated with observation techniques, led to incomplete data on the cod stocks. Naturally high levels of variability in the population due to dynamic environmental factors (such as ocean temperature) combined to make it arduous to discern the effects of exploitation.[12] This led to predictions about the cod stock that were mired in uncertainty, making it more difficult for the government to choose the appropriate course of action.

Socioeconomic factors

In addition to ecological considerations, decisions regarding the future of the fisheries were also influenced by social and economic factors. Throughout Atlantic Canada, but especially in Newfoundland, the cod fishery was a source of social and cultural identity.[13] For many families, it also represented their livelihood: most families were connected either directly or indirectly with the fishery as fishermen, fish plant workers, fish sellers, fish transporters, or as employees in related businesses.[13] Additionally, many companies, both foreign and domestic, as well as individuals, had invested heavily in the boats, equipment and the infrastructure of the fishery, and therefore felt it was in their best interest to maintain an open-access policy to the ocean and its resources.


In 1949 Newfoundland joined Canada as a province, and thus Newfoundland's fishery fell under the management of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The department mismanaged the resource and allowed overfishing.[14]

In the 1960's the number of fishing trawlers increased, and inshore fishermen complained to the government.[15] This resulted in the government redefining the offshore fishery boundaries several times, and eventually extended its limits from 3 miles to 200 miles offshore,[14] as part of its claim for an exclusive economic zone under the UNCLOS.

In 1968 the cod catch peaked at 810,000 tons, approximately three times more than the maximum yearly catch achieved before the super-trawlers. Approximately 8 million tons of cod were caught between 1647 and 1750 (103 years), a period encompassing 25 to 40 cod generations. The factory trawlers took the same amount in 15 years.[16]

In 1976, the Canadian government declared the right to manage the fisheries in an exclusive economic zone that extended to 200 miles offshore. The government wanted to reverse declining fish stocks by removing foreign fishing within the new inshore fishery boundaries.[14] Fish mortality decreased immediately.[15] This was not due to a rise in cod stocks, it was because foreign trawlers could no longer fish the waters. Therefore, when Fisheries and Oceans set quotas, they overestimated the total stock, and increased the total allowable catch.[16] With the absence of foreign fishing many Canadian and U.S fishing trawlers took their place and the number of cod kept diminishing past a point of recovery.[14]

Many local fishermen noticed the drastic decrease of cod and tried to inform local government officials.

In a 1978 white paper, the Newfoundland government stated:[17]

It must be recognised that both the Federal and Provincial Governments, plant workers, and the private sector, which includes fishermen, all have a role to play at influencing and directing the course of development within the fisheries sector. It is essential, therefore, that various interest group conflicts be minimized and that the appropriate measures be taken to ensure that benefits accruing from the exploitation of fish stocks are consistent with rational resource management objectives and desirable socio-economic considerations.

In 1986, scientists reviewed calculations and data, after which they determined, to conserve cod fishing, the total allowable catch rate had to be cut in half. However, even with these new statistics brought to light, no changes were made in the allotted yearly catch of cod.[14] With only a limited knowledge of cod biology, scientists predicted that the population of the species would rebound from its low point in 1975.

In the early 1990s the industry collapsed entirely. In 1992, John Crosbie, the minister of Fisheries and Oceans at the time, set the quota for cod at 187,969 tonnes, even though only 129,033 tonnes had been caught the previous year. By 1993 six cod populations had collapsed, forcing a belated moratorium on fishing.[16] Spawning biomass had decreased by at least 75% in all stocks, by 90% in three of the six stocks, and by 99% in the case of 'northern' cod, previously the largest cod fishery in the world.[16] Catches increasing to more fish than ever before, caused actually by new technologies such as trawlers, were wrongly thought to be due to "the stock growing".[15]

In 1992 the government announced a moratorium on cod fishing.[14] The moratorium was at first meant to last two years, hoping that the northern cod population would recover, and along with it the fishery. However, damage done to Newfoundland's coastal ecosystem proved irreversible,[18] and the cod fishery remains closed.

Impact on Newfoundland

Approximately 35,000 fishermen and fish plant workers lost their jobs due to the collapse of the cod fisheries; many people had to find new jobs or further their education to be able to find jobs. It was devastating for many communities and impacted Newfoundland profoundly.

The collapse of the northern cod fishery marked a profound change in the ecological, economic and socio-cultural structure of Atlantic Canada. The moratorium in 1992 was the largest industrial closure in Canadian history,[19] and it was expressed most acutely in Newfoundland, whose continental shelf lay under the region most heavily fished. Over 35,000 fishermen and plant workers from over 400 coastal communities became unemployed.[13] In response to dire warnings of social and economic consequences, the federal government intervened, initially providing income assistance through the Northern Cod Adjustment and Recovery Program, and later through the Atlantic Groundfish Strategy, which included money specifically for the retraining of those workers displaced by the closing of the fishery.[20] Newfoundland has since experienced a dramatic environmental, industrial, economic, and social restructuring, including considerable emigration,[21] but also increased economic diversification, an increased emphasis on education, and a thriving invertebrates fishing industry emerging: as the predatory groundfish population declined, snow crab and northern shrimp proliferated, providing the basis for a new industry that is roughly equivalent in economic value to the cod fishery it replaced.[20]

Post-collapse management

In 1992, following the early 1990s collapse of Canadian stocks, the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) banned fishing for northern cod (that is, cod to the north and east of the island of Newfoundland, in Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization areas JKL as shown on this map. This caused great economic hardship in Newfoundland and Labrador. The collapse was blamed on cold water, or seals, and it had even been suggested that the cod were still there; only rarely was overfishing acknowledged, or management's role in that.

In 1995, Brian Tobin, the Canadian Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, reopened the hunt on the harp seal, which prey on cod, stating: "There is only one major player still fishing the cod. His name is harp and his second name is seal."[22]

In 1997, inspired by the Grand Banks cod fishery collapse, the Marine Stewardship Council was founded to set global standards for sustainable fishing.

In 1997 the Minister for DFO partly lifted the ban on Canadian cod fishing, ten days before a federal election, although independent Canadian scientists and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea doubted there had been sufficient recovery.[23] In general, depleted populations of cod and other gadids do not appear to recover easily when fishing pressure is reduced or stopped.[24]

In 1998 the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) assessed Atlantic Cod. COSEWIC's designations in theory are informed by reports that it commissions and by expert discussion in the panel, and it claims to be scientific and apolitical. Recognising faults in processes is not recreational, but an important step in their improvement. In this case much was mishandled. One observer opined "this process stinks";[25] the same observer later joined, and then became Chair of, COSEWIC. COSEWIC listed Atlantic cod as "vulnerable" (this category later renamed "special concern") on a single-unit basis, i.e. assuming a single homogeneous population. The basis (single-unit) of designation and the level (vulnerable) assigned was in contrast to the range of designations including "endangered"[26][27] for some of the 10 management (sub) units addressed in the report[28] that COSEWIC had commissioned from Dr. K.N.I. Bell. That contradiction between the report and the listing reflected political pressure from the DFO; such bureaucratic pressure had been evident through three years of drafts.

The 1998 designation followed on from a deferral in 1997 and bureaucratic tactics including what one COSEWIC insider characterised as "a plan to make it late".[25][29] Press interest before the 1998 meeting[27] had, however, likely deterred a further deferral. COSEWIC's 'single unit' basis of listing was at the behest of DFO, although DFO had previously in criticism demanded (properly, given the new evidence) that the report address multiple stocks. Bell had agreed with that criticism and revised accordingly, but DFO then changed its mind without explanation.

By the time of COSEWIC's 1998 cod discussion, the Chair had been ousted for having said "I have seen a lot of status reports ... [i]t is as good as I have ever seen in regards to content",[25] and COSEWIC had already attempted to unilaterally alter[30] the 1998 report. The report remains one of an undeclared number that are illegally suppressed (COSEWIC refuses to officially release it unless it can change it "so that it ... reflects COSEWIC's designation"),[29] in this case despite kudos from eminent reviewers of COSEWIC's own choice.[31] COSEWIC in defense asserted a right to alter the report or that Bell had been asked to provide a report that supported COSEWIC's designation;[29] either defense would involve clear violations of ethics, of COSEWIC's procedures at the time, and of the norms of science. The key tactics used to avert any at-risk listing centered on the issue of stock discreteness, and DFO's single-stock stance within COSEWIC contradicted the multiple-stock hypothesis supported by the most recent science (including DFO's, hence DFO's earlier and proper demand that the report address these). Bell has argued that this contradiction between fact and tactic effectively painted management into a corner from which it could not acknowledge or explain the contrast between areas where conservation measures were clearly needed and areas where opposite observations were gaining press attention.[32] In effect, DFO's opposition to a listing compromised its ability to carry out its conservation mandate.

In 1998, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) listed the Atlantic cod as "vulnerable", a category subsequently rebranded as "special concern", though not as an endangered species. This decision process is formally supposed to be informed by Reports that are commissioned from authors. Dr. Kim N.I. Bell authored the 1998 Status Report for COSEWIC.[33][34] This was the first such report on a commercial fish species in Canada. The potential designation change (from Not At Risk to Endangered) was highly contentious, because many considered that the collapse of Atlantic Cod had resulted ultimately from mismanagement by DFO. The Report (section: Author's Recommendation of Status) therefore discussed at great length the process of developing a recommendation for the designation. The Report contained discussion addressing points that had been offered by DFO, because although COSEWIC had a mechanism for the 'jurisdiction' (i.e. the department responsible for the 'species' (here, for the population), to provide objections to an author), it had no mechanism for those objections to be objectively arbitrated as a matter of science. Rebuttal by authors was untraditional and unexpected. That is undoubtedly why, before the meeting which was to decide the designation, COSEWIC had massively unannouncedly edited the Report, thereby introducing many errors and changing meanings, including removing the word "few" from "there are few indications of improvement", and expunging a substantial section which engaged various objections raised by DFO. When the unauthorised "edits" were discovered by the author, COSEWIC was obliged to circulate a letter explaining that it had sent out a version that lacked the author's approval, and had to provide the author's version to members.[35][36]

The Report contained, under a subsection "Designation by geographic management units (as preferred by DFO in 1996)", recommendations (or options) for 10 geographic management units, being Not At Risk or Vulnerable (for 1 management area), Threatened or Endangered (for 5 management areas), and to Endangered (for 4 management areas). In its designation, COSEWIC:

  1. Disregarded population structure and provided a recommendation based on the presumption of a single homogeneous population (which even DFO's own internal documents concluded was unlikely, compared to heterogeneity).
  2. Disregarded the arithmetic that clearly put declines in high "at risk" categories, and applied a decision of vulnerable, a lower-risk category, to the entire species within Canadian waters.

COSEWIC did not account for the variation of its designation from the Report's recommendation, and did not admit that variation. COSEWIC also refused to release the Report, although its rules required it to. Bell, the Report's author, subsequently stated[37] that political pressure by the DFO within COSEWIC was what accounted for the difference.

In 1998 in a book Bell argued[38] that the collapse of the fishery and the failure of the Listing process were ultimately facilitated by secrecy (as long ago in the defence science context observed by the venerable C. P. Snow[39] and recently cast as "government information control" in the fishery context[40]) and the lack of a code of ethics appropriate to (at least) scientists whose findings are relevant to conservation and public resource management. He wrote that a proper code of ethics would acknowledge the obligations of all to conservation, the right of the public to know and understand scientific findings, the obligation of scientists to communicate vital issues with the public, and would not acknowledge the right of bureaucrats to impede[41] that dialogue, and that to be effective, such ethical issues need to be included in science curricula.

In 1999, Kurlansky in a book wrote that the collapse of the cod fishery off Newfoundland, and the 1992 decision by Canada to impose an indefinite moratorium on the Grand Banks, is a dramatic example of the consequences of overfishing.[42][43]

Later developments

In 2000, WWF placed cod on the endangered species list. The WWF issued a report stating that the global cod catch had dropped by 70% over the last 30 years, and that if this trend continued, the world's cod stocks would disappear in 15 years.[44] Åsmund Bjordal, director of the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research disputed the WWF's claim, noting the healthy Barents Sea cod population.[45] Cod (known in Norway as skrei or torsk) is among Norway's most important fishery exports and the Barents Sea is Norway's most important cod fishery. In 2015, the Norwegian Seafood Council invited Crown Prince Haakon to take part in opening the year's cod fishing season on the island of Senja.[46]

By 2002, after a 10-year moratorium on fishing, the cod had still not returned.[47] The local ecosystem seemed to have changed, with forage fish, such as capelin, which used to provide food for the cod, increasing in numbers and now eating the juvenile cod. The waters appeared to be dominated by crab and shrimp rather than fish.[47] Local inshore fishermen blamed hundreds of factory trawlers, mainly from Eastern Europe, which started arriving soon after WWII, catching all the breeding cod.[47]

In 2003, COSEWIC in an update designated the Newfoundland and Labrador population of Atlantic cod as endangered, and Fisheries Minister Robert Thibault announced an indefinite closure of the cod fishery in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and off the northeast coast of Newfoundland, thus closing the last remaining cod fishery in Atlantic Canada. In the Canadian system, however, under the 2002 Species at Risk Act (SARA)[48] the ultimate determination of conservation status (e.g. endangered) is a political, cabinet-level[49] decision; Cabinet decided to not accept COSEWIC's 2003 recommendations. Bell has explained[32] how both COSEWIC and public perceptions were manipulated, and the governing law broken, to favour that decision.

In 2004, the WWF in a report agreed that the Barents Sea cod fishery appeared to be healthy, but that the situation may not last due to illegal fishing, industrial development, and high quotas.[50]

In a 2004 book on the subject, Charles Clover claims that cod is only an example of how modern unsustainable fishing industry is destroying ocean ecosystems.[51]

In 2005, the WWF—Canada accused foreign and Canadian fishing vessels of deliberate large-scale violations of the restrictions on the Grand Banks, in the form of bycatch. WWF also claimed poor enforcement by NAFO, an intergovernmental organization with a mandate to provide scientific fishery advice and management in the northwestern Atlantic.[52][53]

In 2006, the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research considered coastal cod (but not the North East Arctic cod) endangered, but has since reversed this assessment.[54]

In November 2006, Fisheries and Oceans Canada released an article suggesting that the unexpectedly slow recovery of the cod stock was due to inadequate food supplies cooling of the North Atlantic, and a poor genetic stock due to the overfishing of larger cod.[55]

In 2010 a study by the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization found that stocks in the Grand Banks near Newfoundland and Labrador had recovered by 69% since 2007, though that number only equated to 10% of the original stock.[56]

In 2010, Greenpeace International added the Atlantic cod to its seafood red list. "The Greenpeace International seafood red list is a list of fish that are commonly sold in supermarkets around the world, and which have a very high risk of being sourced from unsustainable fisheries."[57] According to Seafood Watch, cod is currently on the list of fish consumers should avoid. In the book The End of the Line, it is claimed cod is an example of how unsustainable fishing is destroying ocean ecosystems.[58]

In summer 2011, a study was announced that showed East Coast cod stocks around Nova Scotia showed promises of recovery starting in 2005, despite earlier thoughts of complete collapse.[56] It said that on the Scotian Shelf after the cod were gone, the small plankton-eating fish (capelin etc) that the cod ate multiplied to many times their old numbers and ate cod eggs and cod hatchlings, but in the early 2000s collapsed, giving in 2005 a window of opportunity for the cod to start to recover; but more time and studies were needed to study the long-term stability of the stock increase.

In 2011 in a letter to Nature, a team of Canadian scientists reported that cod in the Scotian Shelf ecosystem off Canada were showing signs of recovery.[59] Brian Petrie, a member of the team, said "Cod is about a third of the way to full recovery, and haddock is already back to historical biomass levels".[60] Despite such positive reports, cod landings continued to decline since 2009 according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada statistics through 2012.[61]

In 2011 Jeffrey A. Hutchings wrote that in general, depleted populations of cod and other gadids appear to recover poorly when fishing pressure is reduced or stopped.[62]

In 2013, even after twenty years, the northern cod population had not rebounded from the collapse,[61] and the cod fishery remained closed.

In 2015, two reports on cod fishery recovery suggested stocks may have recovered somewhat.[63][64]

  • A Canadian scientist reported that in particular areas, cod were increasing in numbers, health, normalising in maturity and behaviour, and offered a promising estimate of increased biomass.[65]
  • A US report suggested that a failure to consider reduced resilience of cod populations due to increased mortality in warming surface water of the Gulf of Maine had led to overfishing despite regulation. Thus, overestimates of stock biomass due to generalisation of local estimates, and ignorance of environmental factors in growth or recovery potential of a cod fishery would lead to mismanagement and further collapse of stocks, through further unsustainable quotas, as in the past.[66][67]

In June 2018, days before this image of an advertisement for cod for sale as fast food in New Brunswick after the long moratorium on the commercial Atlantic northwest cod fishery was taken, the federal government reduced the cod quota, finding that the cod stocks had fallen again after just two years of fair catches.

Seafood Watch says that sustainability-minded American consumers should avoid some cod populations.[68]

See also


  1. ^ Kenneth T. Frank; Brian Petrie; Jae S. Choi; William C. Leggett (2005). "Trophic Cascades in a Formerly Cod-Dominated Ecosystem". Science. 308 (5728): 1621–1623. doi:10.1126/science.1113075. PMID 15947186.
  2. ^ "Collapse of Atlantic cod stocks off the East Coast of Newfoundland in 1992 | GRID-Arendal - Maps & Graphics library". Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  3. ^ Hamilton and Butler, 1.
  4. ^ Hamilton et al., 195.
  5. ^ Keating, 1.
  6. ^ Hamilton et al., 200.
  7. ^ Hamilton et al., 199.
  8. ^ a b Based on data sourced from the FishStat database FAO.
  9. ^ Keating, 1.
  10. ^ Hamilton et al., 200.
  11. ^ Hamilton et al., 199.
  12. ^ Cochran, 6.
  13. ^ a b c Gien, 121.
  14. ^ a b c d e f MacDowell, L. (2012). chapter 12: Coastal Fisheries. In An Environmental History of Canada. Vancouver: UBC Press.
  15. ^ a b c Taking Stock [Motion picture]. (1994). Canada.
  16. ^ a b c d Ransom A. Myers; Jeffrey A. Hutchings; Nicholas J. Barrowman (1997). "Why do fish stocks collapse? The example of cod in Atlantic Canada" (PDF). Ecological Applications. 7 (1): 91–106. doi:10.1890/1051-0761(1997)007[0091:WDFSCT]2.0.CO;2. JSTOR 2269409.
  17. ^ Government of Newfoundland and Labrador: White Paper on Strategies and Programs for Fisheries Development to 1985 (St. John's, 1978), p. 2.
  18. ^ "Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 2012: Commercial Fisheries".
  19. ^ Dolan, 202.
  20. ^ a b Hamilton and Butler, 2.
  21. ^ Kennedy, 315.
  22. ^ Sea Shepherd - Ocean Realm Autumn 1999
  23. ^ Marine World - Will Atlantic cod ever recover Archived February 14, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ Jeffrey A. Hutchings (2000). "Collapse and recovery of marine fishes" (PDF). Nature. 406 (6798): 882–885. doi:10.1038/35022565. PMID 10972288.
  25. ^ a b c Pauline Comeau (July–August 1997). "Confidential report calls Atlantic cod endangered". Canadian Geographic: 18–22.
  26. ^ Atlantic Cod Endangered : Canadian Geographic Magazine
  27. ^ a b Ottawa Citizen April 18, 1998, p. 1
  28. ^ Status of Atlantic Cod, Gadus morhua, in Canada
  29. ^ a b c COSEWIC: armpit-length committee
  30. ^ Letter to Cosewic members April 10, 1998
  31. ^ [1] Official COSEWIC scientific reviews of Cod Status Report 1997 & 1998
  32. ^ a b Endangered Cod, Red Herrings, Harps, and Hamster Wheels
  33. ^ Bell, Kim N. I. "Status of Atlantic Cod, Gadus morhua, in Canada (Status Report commissioned by COSEWIC) [text]". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  34. ^ Bell, Kim N. I. "Status of Atlantic Cod, Gadus morhua, in Canada (Status Report commissioned by COSEWIC) [figures]". Archived from the original on 1 April 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  35. ^ Bell, Kim N. I. "Cod: what happened? Why?". Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  36. ^ Comeau, Pauline. "New Endangered Species Plan Unveiled - Cod listing shows that mixing politics and science compromises the integrity of decisions, say conservationists". Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  37. ^ Comeau, Pauline (1997). "Confidential report calls Atlantic cod endangered". Canadian Geographic. 117 (4): 18.
  38. ^ [2] (Bell, K. N. I. 1998. An object lesson for demersal African fisheries from the collapse of Canadian Atlantic Cod (Gadus morhua). In L. Coetzee, J. Gon, & C. Kulongowski (Eds), African Fishes and Fisheries - diversity and utilisation. Vol. I (Book of Abstracts) (pp. 91). Grahamstown, South Africa, Sept. 13-18 1998. JLB Smith Inst. of Ichthyology, for The Paradi Association and The Fisheries Society of Africa.)
  39. ^ Snow, C. P. 1962. Science and government (from the Godkin Lectures at Harvard University, 1960). New York: New American Library / Mentor (by arrangement with Harvard University Press). vii+128 pp.
  40. ^ Jeffrey A. Hutchings; Carl Walters; Richard L. Haedrich (1997). "Is scientific inquiry incompatible with government information control?" (PDF). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 54 (5): 1198–1210. doi:10.1139/cjfas-54-5-1198.
  41. ^ See also Harris (1998)
  42. ^ Kurlansky (1999), ch. 11: "Requiem for the Grand Banks, pp. 177–190.
  43. ^ Kurlansky (1999), ch. 12: "The Dangerous Waters of Nature's Resilience, pp. 191–206.
  44. ^ "WWF – No more cod in 15 years, WWF report warns". 13 May 2004. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
  45. ^ Tisdall, Jonathan (25 April 2002). "Cod not endangered species". Archived from the original on 29 June 2008. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
  46. ^ "Good fishing off Senja". Norwegian Royal Court.
  47. ^ a b c Hirsch, Tim (December 16, 2002). "Cod's warning from Newfoundland". BBC News. Retrieved January 13, 2009.
  48. ^ The Species at Risk Act Archived 2013-06-06 at the Wayback Machine
  49. ^ The Species at Risk Act
  50. ^ "WWF – The Barents Sea Cod – the last of the large cod stocks". 10 May 2004. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
  51. ^ Clover, Charles (2004). The End of the Line: How Overfishing Is Changing the World and What We Eat. London: Ebury Press. ISBN 0-09-189780-7.
  52. ^ "Fisheries laying waste to endangered fish stocks". WWF Canada. 20 September 2005. Archived from the original on 9 March 2007. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
  53. ^ "WWF – Cod overfished in the North-West Atlantic despite ban". 27 May 2008. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
  54. ^ Hauge, Marie (9 November 2010) Havforskningsinstituttet – Raudlista: Friskmelder 15 artar, kritisk for ål og pigghå. Retrieved on 4 May 2013.
  55. ^ "What's Holding Back the Cod Recovery?". Fisheries and Oceans Canada. January 30, 2013 [November 1, 2006].
  56. ^ a b "East Coast cod found to be recovering". CBC News. June 27, 2011.
  57. ^ "Greenpeace International Seafood Red list". 17 March 2003. Archived from the original on 3 July 2008. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
  58. ^ Clover, Charles (2004). The End of the Line: How Overfishing Is Changing the World and What We Eat. London: Ebury Press. ISBN 978-0-09-189780-2.
  59. ^ Frank KT, Petrie B, Fisher JA and Leggett WC (2011) "Transient dynamics of an altered large marine ecosystem" Nature, 477 (7362): 86–89. doi:10.1038/nature10285
  60. ^ Coghlan, Andy (2011-07-28). "Cod make a comeback". New Scientist. Retrieved 2011-07-28.
  61. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-20. Retrieved 2013-12-27.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  62. ^ Hutchings, Jeffrey A. (200). "Collapse and recovery of marine fishes" (PDF). Nature. 406 (6798): 882–885. doi:10.1038/35022565. PMID 10972288. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
  63. ^ Canadian Science Publishing (NRC Research Press) (27 October 2015). "The great northern cod comeback".
  64. ^ "Cod recovery 'quite spectacular,' but George Rose calls for caution". CBC News. 28 October 2015.
  65. ^ Rose, George A.; Rowe, Sherrylynn (December 2015). "Northern cod comeback". Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences: 1789–1798. doi:10.1139/cjfas-2015-0346.
  66. ^ Goode, Erica (29 October 2015). "Cod's Continuing Decline Linked to Warming Gulf of Maine Waters". The New York Times.
  67. ^ Pershing, Andrew J.; et al. (13 November 2015). "Slow adaptation in the face of rapid warming leads to collapse of the Gulf of Maine cod fishery". Science. 350 (6262): 809–812. doi:10.1126/science.aac9819.
  68. ^ "Cod Recommendations". Monterey Bay Aquarium. Retrieved 13 April 2019.


  • Cochrane, Kevern. "Reconciling Sustainability, Economic Efficiency and Equity in Fisheries: the One that Got Away." Fish and Fisheries 1 (2000): 3-21.
  • Dayton, Paul, et al. "Environmental Effects of Marine Fishing." Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 5 (1995): 205-232.
  • Dolan, Holly, et al. "Restructuring and Health in Canadian Coastal Communities." EcoHealth 2 (2005): 195-208.
  • Gien, Lan. "Land and Sea Connection: The East Coast Fishery Closure, Unemployment and Health." Canadian Journal of Public Health 91.2 (2000): 121-124.
  • Hamilton, Lawrence, and Melissa J. Butler. "Outport Adaptations: Social Indicators through Newfoundland's Cod Crisis." Human Ecology Review 8.2 (2001): 1-11.
  • Hamilton, Lawrence, et al. "Above and Below the Water: Social/Ecological Transformation in Northwest Newfoundland." Population and Environment 25.3 (2004): 195-215.
  • Hutchings, Jeffrey. "Spatial and Temporal Variation in the Density of Northern Cod a Review of Hypotheses for the Stock's Collapse." Canadian Journal of Aquatic Science 53 (1996): 943-962.
  • Keating, Michael. "Media, fish and Sustainability." National Round Table on Environment and Economy February (1994).
  • Kennedy, John. "At the Crossroads: Newfoundland and Labrador Communities in a Changing International Context." The Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology 34.3 (1997): 297-318.
  • MacDowell, L. (2012). Chapter 12: Coastal Fisheries. In An Environmental History of Canada. Vancouver: UBC Press.

Further reading

  • Harris, Michael. Lament for an Ocean: The Collapse of the Atlantic Cod Fishery (1998), McClelland & Stewart, ISBN 0771039581
  • Holy, Norman. "Deserted Ocean - 1000 year history of fishing in the Northwest Atlantic" (2009), Authorhouse, ISBN 978-1-4389-6493-5
Ackee and saltfish

Ackee and Saltfish is a traditional Jamaican dish. It is the Jamaican National Dish.

The ackee fruit was imported to the Caribbean from Ghana before 1725, as Ackee or Aki is another name for the Akan tribe, Akyem. It is also known as Blighia sapida. The scientific name honours Captain William Bligh who took the fruit from Jamaica to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England in 1793 and introduced it to science. Because parts of the fruit are toxic, there are shipping restrictions when being imported to countries such as the United States.To prepare the dish, salt cod is sautéed with boiled ackee, onions, Scotch Bonnet peppers, tomatoes, and spices, such as black pepper and pimiento. It can be garnished with bacon and tomatoes, and is usually served as breakfast or dinner alongside breadfruit, hard dough bread, dumplings, fried plantain, or boiled green bananas.

Ackee and saltfish can also be eaten with rice and peas or plain white rice. When seasonings (onion, escallion, thyme, garlic) and saltfish are combined with plain rice it is often called seasoned rice which can be a one pot meal including ackee.

Arbroath smokie

The Arbroath smokie is a type of smoked haddock – a speciality of the town of Arbroath in Angus, Scotland.


Bacalaítos are salt cod pancake like fritters from Puerto Rico.

Burin Peninsula

The Burin Peninsula is a peninsula located on the south coast of the island of Newfoundland in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Burin Peninsula extends to the southwest from the main island of Newfoundland, separating Fortune Bay to the west from Placentia Bay to the east. It measures approximately 130 km (81 mi) in length and between 15 to 30 kilometres (9.3–18.6 mi) in width. It is connected by a 30 km (19 mi) wide isthmus between Terrenceville and Monkstown.

It was originally named the Buria Peninsula by fishermen from the Basque region during the 16th century. The peninsula is also known as "The Boot" by locals and people across the province. The peninsula received this nickname because of it's the boot like shape.

Cabbie claw

Cabbie claw or Cabelew is a traditional dish from the northeast of Scotland and Orkney. It is traditionally made using speldings, young fish of the Gadidae family, such as Cod, Haddock or Whiting. The name is a derivative of cabillaud, the French name for Cod. The dish of cod served in white sauce with chopped egg white in it.


Cod is the common name for the demersal fish genus Gadus, belonging to the family Gadidae. Cod is also used as part of the common name for a number of other fish species, and some species suggested to belong to genus Gadus are not called cod (the Alaska pollock).

The two most common species of cod are the Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), which lives in the colder waters and deeper sea regions throughout the North Atlantic, and the Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus), found in both eastern and western regions of the northern Pacific. Gadus morhua was named by Linnaeus in 1758. (However, G. morhua callarias, a low-salinity, nonmigratory race restricted to parts of the Baltic, was originally described as Gadus callarias by Linnaeus.)

Cod is popular as a food with a mild flavour and a dense, flaky, white flesh. Cod livers are processed to make cod liver oil, an important source of vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA). Young Atlantic cod or haddock prepared in strips for cooking is called scrod. In the United Kingdom, Atlantic cod is one of the most common ingredients in fish and chips, along with haddock and plaice.

Cod fishing in Newfoundland

Cod fishing in Newfoundland was carried out at a subsistence level for centuries, but large scale fishing began shortly after the European discovery of the North American continent in 1492, with the waters being found to be preternaturally plentiful, and ended after intense overfishing with the collapse of the fisheries in 1992.

Cod liver oil

Cod liver oil is a dietary supplement derived from liver of cod fish (Gadidae). As with most fish oils, it contains the omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Cod liver oil also contains vitamin A and vitamin D. Historically, it was given to children because vitamin D had been shown to prevent rickets, a consequence of vitamin D deficiency.

Crappit heid

Crappit heid is a traditional Scots fish course, consisting of a boiled fish head stuffed with oats, suet and liver. In Gaelic it is known as ceann-cropaig. Its origins can be traced to the fishing communities of the North, Hebrides and North-Eastern Scotland in the eighteenth century. In a time when money was scarce, the more expensive fillets of fish, such as cod or haddock would be sold to market but the offal and less attractive parts were retained by the fisherfolk for the pot.Crappit heid was a favourite midday or evening meal amongst those communities and was made from the head of a large cod or similar sized fish, washed, descaled and then stuffed with a mixture of oats, suet, onion, white pepper and the liver of the fish in question. This was then sewn or skewered to close the aperture and boiled in seawater. The cooked dish would then be served with potatoes or other root vegetables in season.

Later variations include exchanging the seawater for a court bouillon of fish stock and onion. The resulting poaching liquid is often eaten as a soup before having the fish head.

Although once a very common dish, crappit heid has, like many traditional dishes, become a rarity. Cod livers are now harder to obtain and usually only available if the fish has been caught by local line fishermen. A healthy and nutritious dish, it is rich in carbohydrates, proteins, fats and more importantly cod liver oil.

Fish finger

Fish fingers (British English) or fish sticks (American English), are a processed food made using a whitefish, such as cod, hake, haddock or pollock, which has been battered or breaded. They are commonly available in the frozen food section of supermarkets. They can be baked in the oven, grilled, shallow fried, or deep-fried.

Fish flake

A fish flake is a platform built on poles and spread with boughs for drying cod on the foreshore of fishing villages and small coastal towns in Newfoundland and Nordic countries. Spelling variations for fish flake in Newfoundland include flek, fleyke, fleake, flaik and fleack. Its first recorded use in connection with fishing appeared in Richard Whitbourne's book Newfoundland (1623, p. 57). In Norway, a flake is known as a hjell.


Gadus is a genus of demersal fish in the family Gadidae, commonly known as cod, although there are additional cod species in other genera. The best known member of the genus is the Atlantic cod.

Until recently, three species in the genus were recognized. Modern taxonomy also includes a fourth one, the Alaska pollock (Gadus (=Theragra) chalcogrammus), which is not separate from the Norway pollock. Furthermore, Greenland cod (G. ogac) is no longer considered a distinct species but rather a subspecies of Pacific cod (G. macrocephalus).

Grand Banks of Newfoundland

The Grand Banks of Newfoundland are a group of underwater plateaus south-east of Newfoundland on the North American continental shelf. These areas are relatively shallow, ranging from 15 to 91 metres (50 to 300 ft) in depth. The cold Labrador Current mixes with the warm waters of the Gulf Stream here, often causing extreme foggy conditions.

The mixing of these waters and the shape of the ocean bottom lifts nutrients to the surface. These conditions helped to create one of the richest fishing grounds in the world. Fish species include Atlantic cod, swordfish, haddock and capelin; shellfish include scallop and lobster. The area also supports large colonies of seabirds such as northern gannets, shear waters and sea ducks and various sea mammals such as seals, dolphins and whales.

Overfishing in the late 20th century caused the collapse of several species, particularly cod, leading to the closure of the Canadian Grand Banks fishery in 1992.

Mary's Harbour

Mary's Harbour is a town in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The town had a population of 474 in the Canada 2006 Census. It is serviced by Mary's Harbour Airport. Mary's Harbour surrounds the St. Mary's River. St. Mary's River was the site of a salmon fishery as early as the 1780s. However Mary's Harbour was not a permanent settlement until after a fire at Battle Harbour in 1930. The International Grenfell Association decided to relocate its hospital and boarding school, destroyed by the fire, from Battle Harbour to Mary's Harbour. Mary's Harbour has always depended on the fishery for its livelihood. Since the Collapse of the Atlantic northwest cod fishery the community has thrived on the crab fishery. The Labrador Fishermen's Union Shrimp Company employs over 120 people at the local crab processing facility. It is also the gateway to the National Historic District of Battle Harbour.

Pacific cod

The Pacific cod, Gadus macrocephalus, is a species of ray-finned fish in the family Gadidae. It is a bottom-dwelling fish found in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, mainly on the continental shelf and upper slopes, to depths of about 900 m (3,000 ft). It can grow to a length of a meter or so and is found in large schools. It is an important commercial food species and is also known as gray cod or grey cod, and grayfish or greyfish. Fishing for this species is regulated with quotas being allotted for hook and line fishing, pots, and bottom trawls.

Pescado frito

Pescado frito (literally, "fried fish" in Spanish and Judeo-Spanish), also called Pescadíto frito (literally "fried little fish" in Andalusian dialect), is a traditional dish from the Southern coast of Spain, typically found in Andalusia, but also in Catalonia, Valencia, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.

Pescado frito is also consumed as a delicacy in inland Spain, being very common in the inland Andalusian provinces of Seville and Cordoba. It is also very common throughout the Mediterranean Basin and is found in Provence and Roussillon, France and in the coastal regions of Italy (where the most common variant using salt cod fillets is known as filetto di baccalà) and Greece (where various fish like Mediterranean sand smelt, European anchovy, cod, common sole, greater amberjack and picarel are used). It was also eaten by the Romans in ancient Rome.

It is made by coating the fish (usually a white fish) in flour and deep-frying it in olive oil, then sprinkling it with salt as the only seasoning. It is usually served hot, freshly fried, and can be eaten as an appetizer (for example with a beer or wine), or as the main course. Usually, it is served with fresh lemon, which is squeezed over the fish or occasionally in escabeche.

Pollachius virens

The saithe ( or ) (Pollachius virens) is a species of marine fish in the Pollachius genus. Together with Pollachius pollachius, it is generally referred to in the United States as pollock. Other names include the Boston blue (separate from bluefish), coalfish/coley, and saithe in the UK, the young fish are called podleys in Scotland and northern England.


Pollock (pronounced ) is the common name used for either of the two species of North Atlantic marine fish in the genus Pollachius. Pollachius pollachius is referred to as pollock in both North America and the United Kingdom, while Pollachius virens today is usually known as coley in the British Isles (derived from the older name coalfish). Other names for P. pollachius include the Atlantic pollock, European pollock, lieu jaune, and lythe; while P. virens is also known as Boston blue (distinct from bluefish), silver bill, or saithe.

True cod
Other cod
True pollock
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