In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, October 28

A humpback whale gorges on a school of menhaden. Photo credit: Artie Raslich (via The Pew Charitable Trusts).

  • ASMFC’s menhaden board voted 16-2 to increase the menhaden catch limit for 2017 from 187,880 metric tons to 200,000 metric tons, just less than a 6.5 percent increase. Pennsylvania and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife were the members who voted ‘no’; they wanted to maintain the current catch limit. The members who voted in favor of an increase said it was supported by the science, while those who opposed said it was too early to decide, especially since the quota was raised by 10 percent last year.
  • In its annual report on landings and value, NOAA Fisheries reports that U.S. fisheries landed 9.7 billion pounds of fish and shellfish in 2015, which is valued at $5.2 billion. Lobster was the highest valued species, and New Bedford was ranked the most valuable port. Americans also ate on average 0.9 pounds more seafood than in 2014.
  • The Downeast Salmon Federation in Maine said that a recent fish kill at the Leonard Lake Dam “proves that hydropower facilities are not environmentally friendly,” the Bangor Daily News reported. The company that owns the dam is in the process of renewing its 30 year federal license, but Downeast Salmon Federation wants to ensure that there will be an adequate fish passage installed. The Commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, which does not have authority of hydropower facilities, said the drought is also contributing to the fish kills.
  • A report released by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (prepared by The Hale Group) says that Maine’s aquaculture industry has the potential to grow $30 million by 2030. According to the report, aquaculture currently produces a value of $6.5 million towards Maine’s overall shellfish industry. The report says there is room for growth by investing more in oyster, mussels, and scallop farming, which would also help diversify Maine’s seafood industry and lower its dependence on lobster.
  • A blog from the Island Institute address concerns of a Canadian proposal to build a pipeline from northern Alberta to New Brunswick, which would lead to oil supertankers transiting through the Gulf of Maine. A spill could be devastating to fishing grounds and critical habitat. The oil that would be transferred differs from conventional crude oil and “it cannot be effectively cleaned up when spilled in water,” says the Island Institute.

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