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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 414-425

Spatial and Temporal Patterns in the Cod Fisheries of the North Atlantic

School of Marine Sciences, University of Maine, Orono, ME, USA

Correspondence Address:
Anne Hayden
School of Marine Sciences, University of Maine, Orono, ME
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.179878

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Atlantic Cod Gadus morhua has been subject to commercial exploitation since the thirteenth century. An analysis of cod fisheries over space and time reveals a pattern of serial depletion that reflects the cross-scale interaction of fish population structure, economic incentives, developments in fishing technology, and government efforts to limit access to fishing areas. Three case studies from Newfoundland and Labrador, the larger Northwest Atlantic, and the Gulf of Maine illustrate a pattern of fish population depletion followed by expansion of fishing activity that repeats at a range of scales. The meta-population structure of cod populations allows overharvesting, even when strict but broadscale controls are in place. The results argue for the reform of fisheries management to incorporate governance that more closely reflects the scale of the local components of metapopulations.

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