Cape Cod fishermen hoping for a lifeline as the region faces ongoing cod shortages

The US government has pledged $75 million to fishermen after declaring a fisheries disaster in 2012

The fishermen of Cape Cod have been forced to approach the American government for a bailout to save the region’s fishing community.

Falling catches, caused by a combination of overfishing and a predatory seal population, are driving many fishermen out of business, The Telegraph reported.

Permits worth £50,000 ($85,000) just five years ago are now barely worth the paper they are printed on, as the community faces a shortage of the fish that is its namesake.

61-year-old fisherman John Cuttle, who started catching dogfish after cod numbers declined, told The Telegraph that the future of the fishery was unstable.

"It just isn't worth going out for the fish right now," he said.

"The quotas were cut by 70 per cent last year, so it is not really viable for small boats. The stocks are very depleted. I can't predict the future but things aren't looking very good at all.

"About 15 years ago there were around 60 boats, now there is just a couple going up to the Gulf of Maine."

Cape Cod is a peninsula that reaches out into the Atlantic Ocean from the state of Massachusetts. It was so called after explorer Bartholomew Gosnold discovered copious amounts of cod off its shores in 1602.

Cod fishing is integral to the local economy – but now the industry is in crisis.

The United States declared a fisheries disaster in the Northeast, Alaska and Mississippi in September 2012.

And in January, the American government pledged $75 million (£45 million) in disaster assistance to fishermen.

Cape Cod workers are now appealing for a share of this money, which could be used to buy back permits, which would allow some fisherman to wait until stocks recover or, alternatively, leave the business altogether.

"We are now facing a disaster. It was declared an emergency by the federal government in May," Dr David Pierce, deputy director of state's marine fisheries division, told The Telegraph.

"There is a shortage of cod and flounder. The reasons why are not completely clear.

"Coastal waters appear to be warming up and the cod was already at the southern end of its normal range."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Relations Officer

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: IT Help Desk Support

£14500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An IT Help Desk Support individ...

Recruitment Genius: Interim HR Advisor

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are going through an excitin...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£37500 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced Quantity Surveyor r...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable