ROCKPORT, Maine (AP) — The cod isn’t so sacred in Maine anymore.
The fish-and-chips staple was once a critical piece of the state’s fishing industry, but state records show 2016 was historically bad. Fishermen brought less than 170,000 pounds (77,110 kilograms) of the fish to land in Maine last year. That was below the previous record low of 250,000 pounds (113,398 kilograms) a year earlier.
Maine’s record year for cod was 1991, when fishermen brought more than 21 million pounds (9.5 million kilograms) to the docks.>>Inside woodtv.com: 2017 Lenten fish frys in West Michigan
Fishermen say they’re struggling with tight quotas. Scientists say populations have plummeted.
The Sacred Cod is the nickname of a wood carving of the fish that hangs in the Massachusetts Statehouse. That state remains the center of the nation’s Atlantic cod fishery, but it is in jeopardy, as well. Catch fell from nearly 100 million pounds (45.3 million kilograms) in 1980 to less than 3 million (1.36 million kilograms) in 2015.