The level of codfish spawning in one of the most critical fisheries in the Northeast U.S. is at an all-time low.
National Marine Fisheries Service scientists say the amount of cod spawning in the Gulf of Maine is estimated at 3 to 4 percent of its target level. That number declined from 13 to 18 percent three years ago. Scientists say low levels of reproduction in the fishery are holding repopulation back.
Federal regulators cut the Gulf of Maine cod harvest quota by 77 percent before the 2013-14 fishing season, and that's still in effect.
The federal New England Fishery Management Council is working on new management measures for the species.
The Gulf of Maine is one of two key areas where East Coast fishermen fish for the species.
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