In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, July 27

Colored lobsters, estimated to be 1 in 2-100 million, have been showing up more frequently in traps (Photo Credit: Maine DMR)

  • While the lobster glut driving prices so low is great for Maine tourists, the scientific reasons behind it are bad news for everyone – fish and fishermen alike.  Global climate change is clearly already impacting New England’s fisheries, and there’s no reason to expect those impacts to lessen any time soon.
  • Reports of colored lobsters are on the rise.  Blue, orange, calico, and white lobsters are exceedingly rare; the genetic mutations that cause the color variations are estimated to occur in 1 in every 2-100 million lobsters.  Researchers say they don’t have the data to determine whether the increased landings of these rare lobsters simply reflect the recent increase in overall lobster catch, or whether they indicate an increase in the actual number of mutations occurring in the population.  One theory is that the colorful crustaceans might have higher survival rates than they used to because of reduced predation pressure from species like cod.
  • Hannaford’s Supermarkets, based in Scarborough, Maine, has recently raised its standards for sustainable seafood.  Working with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland, Hannaford’s developed a policy in which they trace all their seafood products (fresh, frozen, prepared, and canned) to the source to make sure the supplier meets certain sustainability criteria.  More than 50 products have been removed from Hannaford’s inventory following the policy’s implementation.  While similar policies have been implemented by Wal-Mart and Whole Foods, Hannaford’s claims it is the first major supermarket in the U.S. whose sustainability plan reaches not only fresh fish but all products whose main ingredient is seafood.
  • Lobstermen and politicians from Connecticut are speaking out against a proposal by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and New York Department of Environmental Conservation to ban lobstering in Long Island Sound over a three-month period starting in October.  They hold that pesticides and fertilizer run-off in the Sound, rather than overfishing, is the root cause of the lobster die-off that has been occurring for the past 10-15 years.
  • The Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s Out of the Blue program, which promotes the use of underutilized species as sustainable seafood, is featuring Atlantic mackerel this week.  The promotion ends Sunday – but be on the lookout for their next featured species in late September!
  • In an effort to rebuild Boston Harbor’s declining clam populations, volunteers gathered on Wednesday to plant seed clams on the flats of Thompson Island.  State officials say the decline is a result of overfishing, environmental degradation, disease, and poor recruitment.
  • Have you always wanted to learn how to fish?  Here’s your chance!  The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is holding two one-day classes aimed at teaching participants the basics of fishing.  The classes will take place August 2nd at the Libby Museum in Wolfeboro, NH and August 10 at the Umbagog Lake Campground in Cambridge, NH.  The classes are free, and registration is on a first-come, first served basis.
  • Maine governor Paul LePage has declared August Maine Lobster Month.  The proclamation is in response to this year’s record lobster harvests and in celebration of the state’s iconic seafood.  Restaurants and retailers in Maine and across New England will be participating with promotions.


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