Still no recreational cod fishing in Gulf of Maine this year

PAT WELLENBACH/Associated Press. Freshly caught cod are stacked on ice. NOAA says recreational fishermen will continue to fish under last year's rules when the new fishing season begins on May 1. meaning Gulf of Maine cod are off limits.

BOSTON— Federal fishing managers say rules for recreational fishing of cod and haddock off New England are staying the same for the time being, and that means fishing for cod in the Gulf of Maine is still prohibited.

The Gulf of Maine's the body of water off Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. It's an important piece of ocean for recreational and commercial fishermen. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it's developing rules for the new fishing year, which begins May 1, but rules aren't yet ready. 

The New England Fishery Management Council said the extended government shutdown at the beginning of the year delayed it in making recommendations on cod rules to NOAA. 

NOAA Regional Administrator Mike Pentony of the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office in Gloucester had told the council earlier this spring he did not expect the recreational measures to be in place by May 1 "given the backlog of regulatory actions needing to be reviewed and implemented" by NOAA Fisheries.

That means the 2018 rules will stay in place until further notice.

The recreational haddock fishery in the Gulf of Maine will have a bag limit of 12 fish. 

The recreational cod fishery will remain shut down.

NOAA says New England's cod are overfished.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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