Like Canada, the United States has tried to move towards fishing effort restrictions with the aim of rebuilding the fish stocks.

Georges Bank was open to the world until 1977, when the U.S. took action to extend its jurisdiction out to 200 nautical miles. Vessels of many flags worked the waters, making huge hauls in the 1960s with relatively new trawl gear. This free-for-all came to an end mainly because domestic fisheries scientists realized that overfishing was going on, but after removing the foreign fleets, the domestic fleet, buoyed by low interest government loans, rode a wave of expansion. Soon our homegrown effort exceeded prior levels, and by the late 1980s fish were being taken out of the water faster than they could replenish their numbers. The stock crashed in the 1990s, and by the latter part of that decade some scientists were warning of the possible extinction of some of the most iconic species. Today the number of cod on Georges Bank stands at about one-eighth of what some scientists think it can be.

Unlike Canada, however, many groundfishermen in the U.S. are managing to continue working, but times are tough. They are holding their businesses together buy working other fisheries, through government aid, and through making the most of the days they can fish. No boat can work more than about 70 days a year on groundfish, and roughly a third of the Bank is off limits to fishing. The fishing industry still holds a significant place in New England culture, and communities, politicians, and supporting industries are standing by local marine traditions, hoping that they can continue working until the stocks improve. For U.S. fishermen the lessons of Canada are alarming, where a moratorium has not resulted in the stock rebuilding that was hoped for, and fishermen are truly running out of options.