by Richard Gaines, Gloucester Times
Posted: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 at 3:17PM EST
Admittedly flummoxed by an unexpectedly dire scientific assessment of inshore cod, NOAA and its New England Fishery Management Council have called a general meeting of stakeholders on Friday to brainstorm options for the new fishing year that begins May 1.
The informal meeting has been set for the Portsmouth Harbor Events and Conference Center, in Portsmouth, N.H., from noon to 4 p.m. Sam Rauch, who heads the cod crisis team at NOAA, is expected to attend.
Rauch was at last Wednesday's regional council meeting that produced furious debate about the validity of the science in the assessment, whose findings can trigger extreme conservation measures mandated by Congress in the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
A compromise motion that passed the council and went to Commerce Secretary John Bryson formally asks him to take emergency action by setting an interim, one year, catch limit on cod, and recommends a broad range of between 6,700 metric tons to 7,500 metric tons.
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