Posted January 2013

CLF Calls to Shut Down New England Cod Fishery

Yesterday the story of New England’s cod fishery took another tragic turn when the New England Fishery Management Council voted to drastically cut catch limits for New England’s two cod stocks—Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank cod—by 77 and 61 percent, respectively. Now is not the time for denial. It is not the time for timid decisions and unconscionable risk. It is time to make the painful, necessary steps towards a better future for fishing in New England. Rather than arguing over the scraps left after decades of mismanagement, we should shut the cod fishery down and protect whatever cod are left. … More Info »

“The Fish Just Aren’t There.”

There is no question that the expected reductions in annual catch limits (ACLs) will be difficult for an industry already in a declared disaster. But while these cuts for cod and haddock limits have grabbed headlines, the real story is that there simply aren’t enough fish. The science, the catch data and many fishermen say the populations of many important species are at or near all-time lows. Fishery regulators are eager to cushion the blow to those whose livelihoods are at risk. Unfortunately, many proposals intended to help fishermen do not address the real problem—a lack of fish—and instead risk further harm to weakened fish populations. … More Info »

Investing in the Future: A Down East Groundfish Closed Area

Last week, the Groundfish Committee of the New England Fishery Management Council agreed to analyze a proposal for a new closed area off of eastern Maine that would protect known juvenile aggregations and historic spawning aggregations of groundfish, and important habitat. The current economic impacts of closing this area to groundfishing may be negligible, and this closed area promises significant benefits to the region and to Maine’s small boat fleet. … More Info »

New England’s Protected Waters are Threatened

Parts of New England’s waters set aside to protect cod, haddock, flounder, and other important fish could soon be subjected to some of the most damaging forms of large-scale fishing. Learn more about this 5000 square mile area with this interactive map. … More Info »

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, January 25th

In this week’s Fish Talk in the News, the SSC sets 2013 Allowable Biological Catch for three stocks; John Bullard denies a request for interim measures; the New England shrimp season begins; the Marine Fisheries Institute will review the groundfish stock assessment process; concern over a loss of fisheries advocates in Congress; an investigation into fisheries rulemaking finds flaws in recordkeeping. … More Info »

Recent paper points to a need for improved ecosystem modeling

Map of East Coast

Fisheries managers in the U.S., and increasingly around the world, use stock assessments and scientific information about fish populations to set catch limits for fisheries. It is typically assumed that more adult fish means more reproduction, and thus more fish available for us to harvest. But the authors of a paper published last week by several prominent fisheries biologists found that the productivity of fish stocks can be nearly independent of the abundance of adults, and is influenced by other factors. … More Info »

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, January 18

In this week’s Fish Talk in the News, the House excludes fisheries disaster aid from the Hurricane Sandy relief bill; the wreckage of the Foxy Lady II is found; Steve Urbon questions the consideration of Ron Klain for Obama’s Chief of Staff; a new study suggests fish productivity is related to natural variability more often than abundance; a new MA bill would impose strict fines for seafood fraud; Maine lobstermen consider measures to avoid price crashes. … More Info »

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, January 11

In this week’s Fish Talk in the News, fishermen have caught less than half the 2012 catch limit on 14 out of 16 groundfish stocks; Maine lobster landings hit a record high; the House debates Sandy aid; Brian Rothschild calls biological reference points arbitrary; some fishing advocates support Barney Frank for interim MA senator. … More Info »

NOAA’s 2011 Groundfish Report by the Numbers

On December 26th, NOAA released its “2011 Final Report on the Performance of the Northeast Multispecies (Groundfish) Fishery (May 2011-April 2012).” Overall, the report indicates that groundfish catch and net revenues are increasing steadily, although some stocks, most notably Georges Bank haddock, are fished at a level far below the annual catch limit. Consolidation and equity issues are still a major concern. Measures of fleet inequality generally improved from 2010 levels, and the decline in boat numbers has slowed noticeably following a sharp drop-off between 2009 and 2010. Here are some highlights of the data. … More Info »

The Bottom Line: A Better Way to Manage Fish

Some proposed fisheries rules would take us backward, with costly new delays and exemptions that could allow overfishing and reverse conservation gains. Other proposals offer an opportunity to improve the health of our oceans, by managing our fisheries as part of the larger ecosystem. This holistic approach — often called “ecosystem-based fisheries management” — looks beyond the health of individual species to also consider the food and habitat they rely upon. … More Info »