PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — Fishermen, scientists and regulators are meeting in New Hampshire today to examine a dire assessment of the health of cod in the Gulf of Maine and to suggest ways to move ahead.

The report is a reversal of a 2008 study that found the valuable species was healthy.

The new information could lead to drastic cuts in catch limits, or to a broad fishery shutdown to protect the fish. Either option would devastate the local industry.

Fishermen are highly skeptical of the assessment, saying it doesn’t square with what they see in their nets.

But scientists say sound data show there are too few fish, and fishermen are catching too many.

Eric Schwaab, head of the federal fisheries service, said the meeting shows managers are deeply concerned about the report’s implications.


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