In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Tuesday, August 9

From time to time, we like to keep you updated on the other news sources that have been “talking fish.” Here’s a quick look at some recent stories and websites that we think might interest Talking Fish readers:

  • Last week, the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance‘s Science and Policy Coordinatoor, Boyce Thorne-Miller, blogged about ecosystem-based fishery management (EBFM), a method of managing fishery resources that addresses the health of the marine ecosystem and the various fish species it supports as a whole, rather than managing each fish stock indivdiually and in isolation. Ms. Thorne-Miller supports the shift from traditional management approaches to EBFM,  describing it as a change from “dead fish management” to “living fish management,” because “the numerical data about catches that must be reported to fisheries managers is important, but so is information about how living populations of fisheries and their support species are behaving and moving.” She also writes that “Data and observations from government scientists, academic scientists, social scientists, and fishermen-scientists alike will be needed to make this new management work.  And that means the toxic mistrust among these groups of professionals must end and a mutual willingness to improve techniques and coordinate information must begin.”
  • There’s been a lot of news about menhaden lately, and The Baltimore Sun‘s Outdoors Girl blog reported last week on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) decision to approve for public comment a suite of options for managing menhaden. Menhaden are a small, oily fish that are an important source of food for striped bass and other fish, but they are also used as bait for lobster and blue crabs and are ground up for use in ever day products like dog food and cosmetics. The stock has been declining and is currently at its lowest point in history. According to the blog, “The five options ranged from maintaining the status quo—an action that would almost certainly continue overfishing—to reducing the harvest by as much as 45 percent from 2010 levels.” Public comment on these options will take place now through October, and the ASMFC will reach a final decision on menhaden management in November. To learn more about menhaden and the problems the species is facing, read this article from Gilt Taste.
  • NOAA Fisheries released an online mapping tool that lets users view a spatial representation of essential fish habitat (EFH), habitat areas of particular concern (HAPCs), and EFH areas protected from fishing. It can take some time to load, but it’s interesting to see which species are near you!
  • Last Friday, a federal judge in California upheld the recently-enacted Pacific Groundfish Trawl Rationalization Program. This news release from the West Coast Trawlers’ Network explains the case and court decision in more detail. The Pacific Coast Groundfish Trawl Rationalization Program is a catch share program featuring Individual Fishing Quotas (IFQs) and Harvest Cooperatives. According to the West Coast Trawlers’ Network, the “lawsuit alleged, among other things, that the fishery rationalization program violates national standards requiring management measures to prevent overfishing and to minimize bycatch and bycatch mortality to the extent possible.” The judge rejected these claims in favor of the federal government’s argument that the program would increase individual accountability for total catch and bycatch, thereby allowing fishermen to optimize their catch of abundant species and avoid bycatch. This is the second time this year that a federal judge has upheld a catch shares program; earlier this summer federal judge Rya W. Zobel upheld New England’s sector management system for the groundfish fishery.

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