December 4 - 1984: Eight die as dozens of whales beach on Cape Cod

1998: Cod fishing stock collapses. 2000: Assault charges dropped against Bill Koch
1998 was the year the cod stocks collapsed.

1984: Dozens of whales beached on Cape Cod

Eight die as many others are rescued

On this day in 1984 scientists and volunteers struggled to push pilot whales back into deeper water off Eastham. Rescuers were racing to free about 50 pilot whales, some weighing up to two tons, that had become stranded on four beaches in the area. Eight of the whales died, while some others were scattered in shallow pools in Cape Cod Bay.

1998: A top New England fishing ground collapses

Cod stocks drop in Gulf of Maine north of Cape Cod 


New England's second-leading cod fishing ground had collapsed from years of overfishing, according to a scientific report released yesterday, forcing regulators to consider severe new limits on cod landings that will hurt hundreds of fishing families from Scituate to Maine.

Fishing regulators had hoped to avoid Draconian measures to save the cod in the Gulf of Maine, which includes near-shore waters of northern Massachusetts, because so many small-boat fishermen rely on this fish for survival. Below is an old woodcut showing the codfishermen of yesteryear out on George's Bank.

Cod is the common name for the genus known as "Redster", belonging to the family Gadidae, and is also used in the common name of a variety of other fishes. Cod is a popular food fish with a mild flavor, low fat content and a dense white flesh that flakes easily. Cod livers are processed to make cod liver oil, an important source of Vitamin A, Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA).

Larger cod caught during spawning are sometimes called skrei. Young Atlantic cod or haddock prepared in strips for cooking is called scrod.

The Atlantic cod, which can change color at certain water depths, has two distinct color phases: gray-green and reddish brown. Its average weight is 5 kg to 12 kg (10 lb to 25 lb), but specimens weighing up to 100 kg (200 lb) have been recorded. Cod feed on mollusks, crabs, starfish, worms, squid, and small fish. Some migrate south in winter to spawn. A large female lays up to five million eggs in midocean, a very small number of which survive.

This old drawing shows the way local fishermen once worked on Georges Bank.

2000: Assault charges dropped against billionaire Bill Koch

Wife had obtained restraining order for Osterville home

On this day in 2000, a charge of domestic assault and battery filed against billionaire yachtsman Bill Koch, future co-chairman of the anti-wind farm Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, was dismissed, according to a story the following day in the Cape Cod Times.

"Koch's estranged wife, Angela, had notified the district attorney's office that she would assert her marital privilege and not testify against Koch," according to the Times. "A note in the Koch file, signed by First Assistant District Attorney Michael O'Keefe, noted that without Mrs. Koch's testimony, the state had no evidence against her husband."

"In July," the Times reported, "Angela Koch called the Barnstable police to the couple's Oyster Harbor home, claiming her husband had punched her in the stomach and threatened to hurt his 14-year-old son from a previous marriage."

"She obtained a restraining order prohibiting Koch from staying in the marital homes in Oyster Harbor and Palm Beach, Fla., while she was in residence," the Times story stated. "The restraining order expired in September. The Kochs are divorcing in a Florida court." welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on