Directed by Steve Liss, Andy Laub, David Abel • Documentary • 2017 • 65 minutes
For centuries, cod was like gold, driving men to extremes. Cod were so abundant in the waters off New England that fishermen used to say they could walk across the Atlantic on the backs of them, and generations of men from places like Gloucester and Cape Cod spent their entire lives chasing the coveted fish.
In recent decades, something began to change in the Gulf of Maine. As the region's cod catch plummeted, government surveys of the iconic species reported increasingly dire results. Scientists and environmental activists raised alarms about overfishing and the warming ocean. They urged officials to act.
On Nov. 10, 2014, after years of ignoring warnings, NOAA officials banned virtually all cod fishing throughout the region. Fishermen were infuriated. They challenged the findings and accused the government of trying to destroy their livelihood. Environmental activists feared the government's action had come too late to save the cod.
In 2016, officials estimated there were fewer than 200 cod fishermen left in the fleet, and they're now in the fight of their lives, struggling to hold fast to a tradition that has endured for centuries in New England.