According to new research published July 27 in Nature, cod and other groundfish populations off the east coast of Canada are showing signs of recovery more than 20 years after the fisheries collapsed in the early 1990s. The research, undertaken by scientists at DFO's Bedford Institute of Oceanography and Queen's University, shows that cod, as well as other groundfish populations, are increasing in numbers off the coast of Nova Scotia. The stidy indicates that ecosystem hifts prevented the stocks from replenishing before now. When cod and groundfish were plentiful, they fed off smaller "forage fish." When overfishing depleted the bigger fish's populations, the forage fish turned to bigger fish's spawn for food, including baby cod.Over the years, the forage fish population swelled to almost 900 times its original numbers, preventing groundfish stocks from recovering. A subsequent decline in forage fish numbers  has facilitated the recovery of the cod and haddock populations on the Scotian Shelf. The scientists speculate that this "bodes well" for other collapsed fisheries north of Nova Scoptia, such as off the coast of Newfoundland. More here and here

NOTE:There has been extensive media of this story in the past couple of days. Much of it exagerates the area and extent of recovery for cod. This study deals only with the Eastern Scotian Shelf. One of the best summaries of the research and its implications can be found here

TAGS: fisheries, sustainable, Atlantic cod, haddock, Atlantic groundfish,  recovery, forage fish, ecosystem shifts, Bedford Institute, Queen's University, Ken Frank, William Leggett

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 28 July 2011 16:49 )