The Canadian government this week banned all commercial and recreational cod fishing in an effort to stave off the absolute collapse of the species, putting an end to an industry and a tradition that have defined the country’s Atlantic coast for centuries. The radical decline of Eastern Canadian cod stocks is one of the greatest environmental disasters of the 20th century, attributed to overfishing and, perhaps, subtle changes in the marine environment. The government offered a $30 million compensation package to those affected, including 1,000 licensed fishers and hundreds of others who work in processing plants. Some fishers criticized the aid package as far too small and predicted a mass exodus of people from the region.