Recovery of northern cod stalled, catch limits too high: conservation group

Hopes for a recovery of the once mighty northern cod stock off Newfoundland have been dashed.

Three years after scientists said there were signs of a comeback, the federal government has decided to reduce catch limits for the groundfish, citing a spring stock assessment that said the population is again in decline.

However, a leading conservation group now says the catch limit is still too high.

Oceana Canada says a decision by the Fisheries Department to reduce the total allowable catch to 9,500 tonnes doesn't go far enough, considering the limit was set at 4,400 tonnes in 2015 when a hoped-for recovery appeared to be taking hold.

The northern cod population, once the backbone of Newfoundland and Labrador's fishing industry, collapsed in the early 1990s because of overfishing, mismanagement and changing environmental conditions.

A fishing moratorium was imposed in 1992, wiping out more than 30,000 jobs, many of them in coastal communities that were heavily dependent on fishing.