Cape Cod’s namesake may not rebound unless fishing is further curtailed

Cod off the Massachusetts coast have declined almost 25 percent since 2001, and some fear the once-abundant fish may never bounce back unless fishing is further restricted. Many marine scientists worry that the overall cod population may be well below what’s needed for survival and recovery. Georges Bank cod were long a mainstay of New England’s fisheries, but crashed in the mid-1990s after years of being caught faster than they could reproduce. Regulators have imposed sharp overall cutbacks in catches, but overfishing is still sometimes allowed to buoy the region’s fishing industry. Conservationists argue that maintaining cutbacks is key to cod recovery; as fisheries expert Andrew Rosenberg put it, “They’re still fishing them, and when you kill them, they tend to die.”