In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, October 14

Barndoor skates on deck. Image via NEFSC.

  • NOAA Fisheries announced revisions to the National Standard guidelines of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, which are used to update fishery management plans. According to the NOAA press release, the revised guidelines will “provide more flexibility” in fisheries management, but Conservation Law Foundation says, “By allowing room for more subjectivity and more flexibility within its regulations, NOAA Fisheries has weakened management tools that have been used successfully to restore over thirty fisheries once in severe decline.”
  • WBUR featured a story on Massachusetts fishermen testing new lobster ropes that whales can break, rather than get entangled in. The ropes are designed with a “weak link” that breaks around 1,600 pounds of pressure. A typical lobster rope would require 3,000 pounds of pressure to break. If the ropes prove effective, fishermen hope they can have their traps in the water a few more weeks out of the year.
  • NMFS announced that the barndoor skate has been declared a rebuilt stock “based on the best available science.” Recreational and commercial fishermen have not been allowed to land barndoor skates since 2003 when it was considered an overfished stock. The New England Fishery Management Council Chairman said, “We need to give our Skate Committee a chance to review the new information and see if changes are needed in the fishery.”
  • Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine have all announced shellfish harvest closures in recent weeks due to a large bloom of the phytoplankton species Pseudo-nitzschia. The species is known to produce a toxin that accumulates in shellfish and can cause Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning. Since the original closure, Maine has reopened some areas of its coastal harvesting areas.
  • Researchers at Northeastern University have used “robomussels” with built-in temperature sensors to track internal body temperatures of mussels over the last 18 years. They have placed the robomussels in mussel beds around the globe and have been able to create a large database of temperature changes and help develop strategies to mitigate effects.

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