In this Thanksgiving season, I’m giving a public thanks to the U.S. Coast Guard for the adventure that began my journey as an ocean steward…I’m also grateful for the good things that have happened in U.S. ocean conservation in 2014.
In this week’s Fish Talk in the News, NEFMC cut the cod quota for the 2015 fishing year; Gulf of Maine lobstermen are exempt from cod closures; EDF is calling for 100% monitoring of groundfish boats; local cod prices are expected to rise; Charlie Baker voices support for local fishermen; Gloucester looks to balance fishing with tourism; NOAA Fisheries released Multispecies Framework 52 for public comment; NOAA Fisheries proposed 2015 fishing year specifications; NEFMC expanded scallop closures; ICCAT increased the bluefin tuna quota; Maine seafood suppliers are low on shrimp for the winter season; Maine fishermen are banking on the Portland Fish Exchange renovation; a PhD student is studying river herring migration; Great Bay oyster restoration is proving successful; a Maine-based company is developing yellowtail aquaculture; scientists discussed US-based eel aquaculture; and a new library exhibit in Providence features artwork from 19th century whaling ships.
Two op-ed pieces this week address the rapid warming of the Gulf of Maine’s ocean. The first outlines the emerging science of climate change effects on the ocean, and the second offers ecosystem-based fisheries management as a sensible response.
The bad news is that the emergency measures put in place this week by NMFS’s regional director John Bullard are drastic. If the past is any prelude to the future, the worse news is that the measures will not be sufficient to stop the collapse of cod.
In this week’s Fish Talk in the News, NEFMC announced Omnibus Habitat Amendment 2 public hearings; Maine voters approved the Maine Marine Business Bond; Martha’s Vineyard scallop season starts strong; the Gulf of Maine shrimp season is cancelled; ASMFC’s 73rd Annual Meeting summary is now available; at-sea processing of spiny dogfish is banned; ASMFC awarded the Captain David H. Hart Award; the fishing industry and NOAA find common ground to protect whales; CT Sea Grant provided funding for coastal research projects; WHOI will use a $1 million grant to study climate change impacts on Buzzards Bay; GMRI comments on the importance of data in fisheries management; a new online tool hopes to measure the effects of the Northeast catch share program; GMRI will be hosting a presentation on fish populations and ecology in the Gulf of Maine; ISSF is calling for 100% observer coverage for bluefin tuna; and Omega Protein released its first corporate sustainability report.
Federal fisheries officials have a chance to halt the alarming decline of New England’s cod. But they can only do so if they take swift, bold action not only to reduce the number of cod killed by fishing but to increase protection for the places these fish need to feed, grow, and reproduce. Taking such actions will require farsighted leadership, in order to overturn the stubborn pattern of risky management decisions that have driven the region’s most traditionally important fish to historic lows.
In a recent blog post at Reel Time, McMurray describes striped bass chasing sandeels, false albacore hunting bay anchovies, and fluke feeding on silversides. All those prey species are crucial and yet, he notes, they are not managed by fisheries officials. “Frankly, that really scares me,” McMurray says.
The Boston Globe ran a strong editorial on the cod crisis, yesterday, calling for new thinking and stronger conservation in the Gulf of Maine fishing industry. For a fishing community that has repeatedly relied on federal disaster relief money, it is time fishermen and fisheries managers to alter their crisis response and take the necessary action that will address the problem at the source rather than ameliorate the economic side-effects.
People across the Northeast are rightly asking what is wrong with the management of New England’s fishing, and what needs to change.The Pew Charitable Trusts aimed to answer those questions with thorough research on and analysis of actions by the New England Fishery Management Council. The result is an issue brief we have titled “Risky Decisions.”
In this week’s Fish Talk in the News, NMFS announced the closure of the George’s Bank Atlantic herring fishery; NEFMC invested $800,000 in collaborative research projects; a UMass Dartmouth professor received $205,000 for bycatch-reducing technology development; NEFSC began a new campaign to protect North Atlantic Right Whales; NEFMC is seeking SSC nominees; local organizations disapprove of the new Gloucester Harbor Plan; Maine lobster supply returns to average levels; Maine lobster processors receive government loan; a Globe article describes the effects of climate change on Maine lobster; the Gulf of Maine Lobster Fishery enters the next phase of MSC certification; scallop landings are declining; Oceana pushes for reform of gillnet use; an opinion piece on menhaden; GAO finds geographic disparity in stock assessments; Lee Crocket of Pew Charitable Trusts promotes ecosystem-based fisheries management; and NFSC publishes a report on electronic monitoring in fisheries data collection.