An old wooden carving known as "the Sacred Cod" hangs in the Massachusetts State House.
That figurine has stared down at lawmakers for more than two centuries as a reminder of how important cod fishing has been to New England, where generations have made a living by casting their nets out at sea.
"It's the only job I've ever had," said Al Cattone, a Gloucester fisherman, who - like his father and grandfather before him - spent more than 30 years braving the Atlantic's rough waters and cold winds in search of fish.
"It's not so much a job as it is an identity."
That move, analysts predict, is expected to decimate fishing communities across the region and have a domino effect on seafood processors, wholesalers, distributors and retailers who all make a living off the water.
"The impact will be severe," said John Bullard, the regional administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who voted in favor of the cuts.
"It wasn't easy, but it was necessary."