In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, December 7

Northern shrimp remain at low biomass levels, a result of increased ocean temperatures in the Gulf of Maine. Photo credit: NOAA

  • The Boston Globe’s reporting on mislabeled seafood continued this week with an article pointing to seafood distributor North Coast as a potential culprit in many cases of mislabeling. In the article, owners of many restaurants where the Globe had previously found wrongly identified fish pointed the finger at North Coast for providing wrongly or poorly labeled seafood, most often for passing off Pacific cod as the more desirably but also more scarce Atlantic cod.
  • In the midst of the ongoing fiscal cliff debates, the provision of disaster aid to the New England groundfish fleet by year’s end grew more unlikely. Members of the New England congressional delegation expressed doubts that a disaster relief bill could be passed until the new congressional session convenes in January. In a new effort, however, congressmen made an effort to attach the disaster aid to a package of Hurricane Sandy relief funding. The Hurricane relief package was introduced in early November and is likely to pass before a new Farm Bill or Commerce Department appropriation, which had both been considered other potential mechanisms for the provision of aid to the groundfish fleet.
  • An editorial in The Gloucester Daily Times this week responded to the decision by the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the legality of the catch shares management scheme for the Northeast groundfish fishery. The column says that the decision puts further pressure on managers to develop anti-consolidation measures and notes that the decision pointed to the ongoing Amendment 18 process as a necessary step towards supporting small dayboat owners. Amendment 18 would use accumulation caps or other measures to limit the amount of catch share held by an individual boat or company; at its most recent meeting in November, the New England Fishery Management Council made the development of Amendment 18 a priority for 2013.
  • NOAA Fisheries has proposed new measures to help New England fishermen target comparatively healthy fish stocks. In particular, the proposed rules would allow access to spiny dogfish outside of a declared groundfish trip, allowing vessels to declare different bycatch discard rates when catching dogfish than when targeting groundfish. Fishing dogfish generally results in much lower groundfish bycatch than currently assumed, resulting in excessive restrictions on catch. In addition, another rule would allow for the use of smaller mesh when targeting redfish with an observer on board.

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