Cape Codless
Journal E


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A long-lived species such as the cod can have a life span of 15 years, but the cod in the Cape Cod Bay are being fished out long before they reach that age. A normal cod is considered mature is between five and nine years. Now that the older cod have been fished out, the cod have genetically adapted to this change and are now maturing as early as age one.

In an effort to produce healthier codfish, more restrictive regulations have been placed on cape fishermen and a moratorium has been declared on cod fishing in the Georges Bank, a large spawning area for North Atlantic cod. The U.S. Commerce Department has also initiated a new program of buying out fishing boats and licenses to ease the stress on the fish stocks.

Third-generation fisherman John Vasques of Provincetown, Massachussetts has accepted the governments buyback offer of his fishing license and boat. With a legacy of uncles and cousins who have fished Cape Cod Bay for nearly a century before him, Vasques will be the end of the family's long fishing lineage. Once a license is forfeited through the buyout, it can never be retreived.