Species such as herring, menhaden, and sardines—commonly known as forage fish—make up the menu for much of the wildlife in our ocean. These schooling fish eat tiny plants and animals near the ocean’s surface. In turn, they are eaten by a host of other animals—including larger fish, seabirds, and whales—making them a vital part of the marine food web.
On April 6, on Long Island, a video monitor in a special chute of water called a fish passage captured a brief but historic image: the silhouette of an alewife swimming through from the Carlls River to Argyle Lake. A dam built near the near the town of Babylon, NY, had prevented these fish from reaching spawning areas upstream since the 1800s. The little alewife in this picture was the first to swim that route in more than 100 years.
In this week’s Fish Talk in the News, Captain John McMurray says the Hastings MSA draft “is really awful”; a second MSA discussion draft circulates; federal and state lawmakers work to combat seafood fraud; DMF warns boaters to look out for right whales in Cape Cod Bay; new research suggests acidification could cause fish to lose their fear of predators; traps can help eels pass dams on the Byram River; the elver season starts with small catches and low prices; NOAA releases proposed dogfish rules; a British fisheries consultant says fishermen can adapt to offshore wind.
With a court decision released on April 8 which denied the Commonwealth’s claims, Coakley’s lawsuit has run its predicted course. It’s time to recognize that we need real solutions such as stopping overfishing, protecting habitat, reducing bycatch and improving ocean management.
In this week’s Fish Talk in the News, a slew of legal decisions on groundfish regulations; new research suggests more than 20% of seafood imported into the US is caught illegally; the Senate ratifies treaties to cut down on pirate fishing; environmental groups sue to expand protected habitat for right whales; ecosystem-based management could help respond to climate change; GMRI and the Bigelow Lab compete for funding for real-time monitoring; scallop fisheries in Maine and Nantucket Bay have a strong year; recovering alewife populations may mean a new fishery, too; Maine’s elver season begins with new regulations; an effort to clean up ghost gear is successful.