cod quota

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Senior Member

I found this phrase in L. Penny's 'Dead Cold'. Here inspector is wondering about a killed homeless woman El:

I’ve always loved your art, Clara, El had said when Clara was down and distressed.
I’ve always loved your art.
Gamache felt the warmth of the fire on his face. He wondered whether El had ever had a cod quota or worked construction.

El once told Clara, an artist (the two presumably don't know each other) that she loves her art. It is puzzling to the inspector. And I have no idea what a cod quota is except for a fishing assignment o_O
  • GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    It would have helped if you had mentioned that the story takes place in Canada.

    A cod quota is exactly what you think it is: permission given to an individual fisherman by the Canadian government to catch a certain amount of codfish.

    Gamache is wondering whether El ever worked in such typically male (and uncommon for a woman) "blue collar" jobs as fishing or construction.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Gamache is wondering if El ever did hard physical labor. Working in construction is one example of this. Cod quotas refer to commercial fishing, where the amount of fish a boat is allowed to take is limited in order to prevent harming the long-term fishing potential of an area by removing so many fish that their ability to reproduce is reduced.

    (The Inspector Gamache series of mysteries is set in the Canadian province of Québec, in our era.)

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