"PORTLAND, Maine — The level of codfish spawning in one of the most critical fisheries in the Northeast U.S. is at an all-time low, putting more pressure on a fishery already dealing with declining catch and dramatic quota cuts.
National Marine Fisheries Service scientists say the amount of cod spawning in the Gulf of Maine is estimated to be 3 to 4 percent of its target level. That number declined from 13 to 18 percent three years ago.
Low levels of reproduction in the fishery are holding repopulation back, scientists say. They are investigating what might be driving down the numbers of cod but believe temperature change — which they have also linked to a declining Northern shrimp stock and northern migration of herring — may be one factor."