BOSTON (AP) _ The 22% cut that takes effect May 1 was far less than an 85 percent reduction possible after new data indicated the cod is in worse condition than thought.
Such a huge reduction could have led to a collapse of the New England fishing industry.
NOAA Fisheries' Alan Risenhoover said some flexibility has been identified in the federal fisheries law.
"We do not need to end overfishing. we just need to reduce overfishing now and show progress in that vein," said Risenhoover.
The measure, filed in the federal register on Monday, only buys time for regulators and fishermen to find some way to avoid devastating cuts in 2013.
Fishermen have questioned whether the science behind the grim numbers on cod health is sound, saying the fish is much healthier than the data indicates. Regulators are now reviewing and updating some of the science.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)