Scientists: Warming ocean factor in collapse of cod fishery

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PORTLAND, Maine — A report in Science magazine says the rapid warming of waters off New England is a key factor in the collapse of the region’s cod fishery.

Fishery managers say cod spawning in the Gulf of Maine is only a fraction of sustainable levels and fishermen face dramatic quota cuts as a result. The scientists behind the report say the warming reduced cod’s capacity to rebound from fishing pressure.

The Gulf of Maine is a key fishing area that touches Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Canada.

The lead author of the study is Andrew Pershing of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland. He says the gulf is warming at a rate 99 percent faster than anywhere else in the world.

Science published the report Thursday.