Figure 1: This is a closeup image of the Atlantic Cod in the wild.
Possibly one of the best-known commercial species of fish, the Atlantic Cod, or Gadus Morhua, has had a profound impact on the culture, economy, and pallets of millions of people. While there are populations of cod on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, the collapse of and the regulation of the populations on the Northeastern coast of the United States will be the main focus of this project. (1) Having been fished since before the 1300s, the Atlantic Cod built the New England colonies, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia from barren, cold landscapes, to bustling fishing hubs. The "sacred cod" helped to establish the North American colonies into two different, independent nations. Up until the 1980s and 1990s, the fish was the main contributor to the economies of New England and the Southeastern Canadian provinces. Unfortunately, the cod stocks collapsed in the early 1990s, leading to the unemployment of thousands of fishermen. (2)
Early in the 17th century until around 50 years ago, cod were so abundant in the waters around Newfoundland and New England that it was common saying that one could walk across the Atlantic on their backs (1). Unfortunately, this is no longer true, as cod populations worldwide have been nearly destroyed, with some of the stocks being at less than 1% of their historical biomass (2). While the recent history of the fishery has been quite bleak for both fish and man, hopefully the upcoming years will prove to be quite prosperous.