BOSTON — The nation’s oceans chief has turned down a request made first by Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry for a new assessment of the health of Gulf of Maine cod.

New data indicates cod is badly overfished, and fishermen now face ruinous cuts in their catch. The data have drawn skepticism from fishermen because they show a reversal of a recent, optimistic study.

In December, Kerry asked for a new cod assessment that fishermen can trust.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration head Jane Lubchenco said this month that a new assessment can’t be done in time for managers to make decisions for the May start of the fishing year.

She also said the agency doesn’t yet have new data needed to move ahead. She assured Kerry she is committed to helping fishermen.


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