In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, March 30

Massachusetts commercial fishermen will continue to be able to fish for striped bass like the ones pictured above (Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).

Massachusetts commercial fishermen will continue to be able to fish for striped bass like the ones pictured above (Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).

  • Last week, the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture decided not to move forward with a proposal to ban the harvest and sale of striped bass in Massachusetts. Commercial fishermen, chefs, and various state representatives had opposed the proposal and spoke in support of the committee’s decision, saying it will allow Massachusetts diners to continue enjoying this fish and commercial fishermen to keep this part of their business thriving. Click here to read a joint statement on the decision from the Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen’s Association and Chefs Collaborative.
  • River herring in some New England waterways are showing a big comeback this season – fisheries technicians working at Latimer Brook in Connecticut have counted 3,607 fish so far this season in a waterway with a fish count that usually averages 2,500 for the whole season. These little fish are making a comeback in restaurants and supermarkets as well. NPR’s “The Salt” blog writes about shad’s place in American history – George Washington used to catch and sell it! – and how American taste for it is increasing.
  • This year’s warm winter has caused water temperatures in the Gulf of Maine to be warmer as well, which may cause problems for ocean ecosystems. Just a few things that could be thrown off in the Gulf of Maine, according to the Portland Press Herald: lobsters may molt earlier, important plankton my disappear, and cod and other fish seeking colder waters could migrate to the eastern part of the Gulf or out of it altogether.
  • Whole Foods announced that beginning on April 22, it will stop selling seafood that has received a red rating from the Blue Ocean Institute (seafood is rated red if it is overfished or caught in a way that threatens other species). Whole Foods stores will sell only green- or yellow-rated seafood. What products will we no longer see on Whole Foods shelves? Octopus, gray sole, skate, Atlantic halibut and trawl-caught Atlantic cod, among other fish.
  • It’s elver season in Maine, and some report that these young, tiny eels are netting fishermen $2,200 per pound. These high prices have led to some fishermen making tens of thousands of dollars per night last week, but also to poachers and the need for stricter legislation to deter them. Elvers are in high demand in Asia and may also appear on the menu at high-end U.S. restaurants. But there are concerns about the health of the American eel population, and the future of this fishery is unclear.

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