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Atlantic Cod Stock Structure Working Group

Atlantic cod have been a mainstay of coastal economies around the Northern Atlantic for hundred of years. While cod in the North Atlantic are similar to one another in many ways, the population is actually made up of discrete stock components distinguished by differences in characteristics like size, growth rate, and even genetics. While it is well known that there are multiple cod stocks, fully identifying those stocks on a biological and ecologial scale has proven elusive.

In the Northwest Atlantic, both the United States and Canada have long histories of harvesting and trading these fish, and each country is responsible for managing cod fisheries within their waters. While some cod stocks stay within a country's waters, some also straddle the international boundaries as well as those set up for management purposes. Understanding how the stocks that constitute the cod population are the same and how they are different is a key part of improving how we manage and use these fish and what can be done to restore their numbers.

Researchers in the U.S. and Canada regularly monitor and study cod. These scientists may be working for government, or universities, or non-proft organizations. To compose a complete and detailed picture of the cod stocks means mounting a truly international and interdisciplinary effort to bring together all of the data, studies, and knowledge about stock components.

In February 2018, a working group was convened to take on this challenge. Organizers plan a two-year effort: one year to synthesize information about stock structure and one year to look into the management implications of their findings. The NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center is hosting the working group and updates on their activities will be posted here.


  • Co-Chairs
    Rich McBride
    NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center
    Woods Hole, Massachusetts

    Kent Smedbol
    Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada
    Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

  • Working Group Members

    Ted Ames
    Bowdoin College
    Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries
    Stonington, Maine

    Irene Andrushchenko
    Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada
    St. Andrews, New Brunswick

    Steve Cadrin
    University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
    School for Marine Science & Technology
    New Bedford, Massachusetts

    Jamie Cournane
    New England Fishery Management Council
    Newburyport, Massachusetts

    Micah Dean
    Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries
    Gloucester, Massachusetts

    Gred DeCelles
    Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries
    Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts

    Lisa Kerr
    Gulf of Maine Research Institute
    Portland, ME

    Adrienne Kovach
    University of New Hampshire
    Durham, New Hampshire

    Nina Overgaard Therkildsen
    Cornell University
    Ithaca, New York

    Michele Traver
    NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center
    Woods Hole, Massachusetts

    Greg Puncher
    University of New Brunswick
    St. John, New Brunswick

    Yanjun Wang
    Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada
    St. Andrews, New Brunswick

    Doug Zemeckis
    Rutgers University
    New Brunswick, New Jersey

2019 Meetings

  • May 31
    Working Group Conference Call

  • May 13
    Working Group Conference Call

  • April 23
    Working Group Conference Call

  • March 4
    Working Group Conference Call

2018 Meetings

  • November 14-15
    Working Group meeting
    Gulf of Maine Research Institute

  • August 16
    Working Group Conference Call

  • June 20-21
    Working Group meeting
    University of New Hampshire

  • May 14
    Working Group conference call

  • March 30
    Working Group conference call


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