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Environment and Outdoors

Feds Deny Petition from Environmentalists to Ban Cod Fishing

PORTLAND, Maine - Federal regulators are denying a request from a coalition of environmental groups to prohibit fishing of imperiled Gulf of Maine cod.

Cod are an important food species that New England fishermen have sought for centuries. Regulators and scientists say the stock is struggling because the level of cod spawning in the Gulf of Maine is a fraction of target levels. The federal government implemented a drastic reduction in catch limits on May 1.

A group of environmental organizations including the Center for Biological Diversity and Greenpeace petitioned the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to shut down the fishery until it shows rebuilding progress.

The agency says in its denial that the current restrictions on cod fishing will "provide sufficient protection'' to rebuild the stock.