The New England Fishery Management Council voted to increase cod and pollock quotas for 2018, a move that is expected to benefit New England’s fishing industry.

The council passed a rule Thursday that sets new quotas and has a number of other groundfish adjustments.

The species with substantial quota increases are Georges Bank cod, Gulf of Maine cod, Gulf of Maine haddock and pollock.

The redfish quota will rise by 5 percent.

The biggest percentage increases all were in the Gulf of Maine, where haddock has been nearly tripled to 8,738 tons, and pollock doubled to 37,400 tons.

Cod was increased 156 percent on Georges Bank and 39 percent in the Gulf of Maine, both signs of improving health of the cod stock.

In 2016, groundfish valued at $5.8 million accounted for only 0.8 percent of Maine’s $700 million commercial fishery.

However, southern New England fishermen overall may not get much of an advantage from the increases because of a severe cut of 77.5 percent in southern New England yellowtail.

Yellowtail is also a bycatch in the scallop industry. With a quota allocation to the fishery of only 42 tons, this has the potential to shut down fishing for the species in the southern New England area. This catch limit on yellowtail is the lowest ever set by the council.

The allocation of yellowtail to the scallop fleet was even lower, from 34 to 5 tons, an 85 percent decrease.

A southern New England flounder stock, called windowpane, saw a 49 percent quota reduction. This species is not part of the directed quota system, but once a catch limit is reached, it can trigger gear and area closures.

“Overall, however, the 2018 quotas are expected to provide a number of groundfish fishing opportunities on healthy resources,” the council said in a statement.

Recreational groundfish, specifically Gulf of Maine cod and haddock, also were increased in line with the commercial increases.

filed under: