Tagged | ecosystem-based fisheries management
On May 29, the House Natural Resources Committee met to refine legislation reauthorizing and amending the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the primary law that governs fishing in U.S. ocean waters. This is vital work: Our oceans are one of our nation’s most valuable natural resources. And congressional leaders should capitalize on this opportunity by adding stronger protections for essential habitat that fish populations need to spawn and grow in a healthy marine ecosystem.
The U.S. has the gold standard for fishery protection, thanks to the law that governs it—the Magnuson-Stevens Act of 1976 (MSA). Since 2000, the law has helped rebuild 34 fish species and strengthened coastal economies around the country. But we have 40 other stocks that need serious help. So how can we restore our fisheries? Save the Sound held a forum to find out.
This week the New England Fishery Management Council holds the first meeting of a committee aiming to revive efforts on Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management, or EBFM. This is great news, but also greatly overdue.
According to some estimates, as much as 40 percent of fish caught around the globe is discarded at sea, dead or dying. We can’t afford to continue this wasteful practice. Stopping the unnecessary squandering of nontarget fish in many U.S. fisheries and reducing the needless incidental killing of untold seabirds, whales, and other marine life by indiscriminate fishing gear is central to a new, national approach to ecosystem-based fisheries management.
Species such as herring, menhaden, and sardines—commonly known as forage fish—make up the menu for much of the wildlife in our ocean. These schooling fish eat tiny plants and animals near the ocean’s surface. In turn, they are eaten by a host of other animals—including larger fish, seabirds, and whales—making them a vital part of the marine food web.
In this week’s Fish Talk in the News, a slew of legal decisions on groundfish regulations; new research suggests more than 20% of seafood imported into the US is caught illegally; the Senate ratifies treaties to cut down on pirate fishing; environmental groups sue to expand protected habitat for right whales; ecosystem-based management could help respond to climate change; GMRI and the Bigelow Lab compete for funding for real-time monitoring; scallop fisheries in Maine and Nantucket Bay have a strong year; recovering alewife populations may mean a new fishery, too; Maine’s elver season begins with new regulations; an effort to clean up ghost gear is successful.
We can and must do better. It’s time that decision-makers and federal fisheries managers pursue broader policy solutions that will not only help restore individual species but also promote healthy and robust marine ecosystems—an approach known within scientific circles as ecosystem-based fisheries management.
In this week’s Fish Talk in the News, the NEFMC meets and discusses Magnuson reauthorization; a new reality show seeks Maine fishermen; another study finds a link between climate change and shrinking fish; police say they have found the culprit in last summer’s oyster farm robberies; Maine and the Passamaquoddy tribe approach an agreement on elvers; a study recommends a multifaceted approach to EBFM; new research says depletion due to overfishing can be predicted; Rip Cunningham recommends caution in fishing low on the food chain; a Maine lawmaker introduces a bill to ban pesticides that could harm lobsters.
Following a successful two-day symposium this summer, Maine’s Island Institute has released a new report, A Climate of Change: Climate Change and New England Fisheries, that gathers observations on the effects of climate change on local fisheries and makes management recommendations for mitigating and adapting to these impacts.
The weather may be cold but discussion of climate change and its effects on fishing keeps heating up. There is already ample evidence that fish populations are shifting in response to ocean warming, and the Northeast U.S. has seen especially acute effects as sea surface temperatures reached record highs last year.