The cod is iconic in this part of the country. Cod fishing was the most lucrative trade in the region around the American Revolution. Since then, it's given generations of families a solid source of income.
But these days, the cod that once flourished in the Gulf of Maine are frighteningly scarce. The primary causes of the depletion are the warming of the ocean — cod thrive in cooler waters — and over-fishing. Federal and state marine researchers say the population of cod now is only 3 or 4 percent of what's considered healthy.
As a result, after banning cod fishing in the Gulf of Maine in 2014, federal regulators have kept a near ban on it since.
That's put life-long fishermen out of business. Many of those who remain dispute the science behind the cod surveys. And they deride the regulators who make policy based on that science.
A new documentary, "Sacred Cod," delves into the perspective of the fishermen and the regulators. The film will air on Discovery Channel Thursday night. One of the producers of the documentary is Boston Globe reporter David Abel. He spoke with WBUR's All Things Considered host Lisa Mullins.
This segment aired on April 11, 2017.