Key fishing area for Atlantic cod in dire shape

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — One of the two critical areas where New England fishermen search for cod may be in even worse shape than suspected.

Fishing managers already knew stocks of Georges Bank's cod were thin. New data from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center says research boats fishing the broad swath of elevated sea floor off Massachusetts caught less of the fish per trip this past spring than all but one spring season dating back to 1968.

Scientists say overfishing and rising temperatures are threatening the species.

The Gulf of Maine cod fishery is also in dire shape, regulators say.

The status of the Georges Bank cod is the subject of a presentation to federal fishing managers Wednesday. The New England Fishery Management Council will consider the issue at its meeting in Plymouth, Massachusetts.