Fishermen and regulators have left no doubt that major cuts in fishing catch limits will devastate the industry in 2013.
But with region's fish eaters already so dependent on imports, they may barely feel the cuts that could ruin the centuries-old industry.
In May, fishermen will take a 77 percent reduction in the catch limit for cod caught in the Gulf of Maine. New England's southern ports will absorb a 61 percent cut on cod caught in Georges Bank.
Fishermen are trying to hang on for the short term, hoping new science soon shows better results.
But seafood eaters may not notice much. One fisheries economist estimates less than 12 percent of cod consumed locally is caught locally. And she says that can just be replaced with more imports.