Workshop on Stock Structure of Atlantic Cod in the Gulf of Maine Region

The Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) proposes to convene and facilitate a workshop to

investigate the stock structure of cod in the region of the Gulf of Maine, Georges Bank, southern New

England, and the Scotian Shelf off the Northeastern US and Atlantic Canada. During the recent

assessment for Gulf of Maine cod, the assumed stock structure for cod off the Northeastern US and

Atlantic Canada was identified as one of the major sources of uncertainty in the assessment. In its

review of the Gulf of Maine cod stock assessment, the Science and Statistical Committee (SSC) of the

New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) recommended to the NEFMC that four topics,

including stock structure and spatial distribution, warranted further investigation to reduce the

uncertainty in the assessment. In a memo from the SSC to Paul J. Howard, Executive Director,

NEFMC, dated 27 February 2012, the SSC proposed a three-phase process for re-evaluating, and

possibly revising, the spatial basis for assessment and management of Atlantic cod. The NEFMC

forwarded the SSC recommendations to the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) of NMFS.

The Acting Director of NEFSC subsequently requested GMRI to convene and facilitate a workshop to

further investigate the stock structure issue for cod in the Northeastern US and Atlantic Canada. This

proposal is a response to that request.


It is proposed that a three day workshop be held from 12 – 14 June 2012 to address the

recommendations and objectives outlined for Phase I of the 3 phase process proposed by the SSC in its

27 February 2012 memo. A Workshop Steering Committee will be recruited to develop the workshop

program and agenda to address the Phase I objectives detailed by the SSC. The Steering Committee

will then recruit about 20 presenters and an industry panel of five members that can address each of the

specific topic areas identified in the SSC memo to the NEFMC and the Objectives section above.


The main output from the workshop will be a report to NMFS that provides the following:

  • Overall conclusions and recommendations on most likely stock structure and appropriate

management units

  • Identifies gaps in the data and analyses and recommends actions to address them
  • Recommends next steps