In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, October 5

As Pacific shellfish show the effects of ocean acidification, Washington is making efforts to reduce impacts. (Photo Credit: NOAA)

  • Community-supported fishery programs provide a steadier source of income for New England fishermen, according to an article published this week in The New York Times . Port Clyde Fresh Catch, created by Maine fisherman Glen Libby, allows fishermen to sell their produce directly to consumers without being subject to the variable prices offered by distributors and auctions. Other CSF programs, like the 650-member Cape Ann Fresh Catch, have been similarly successful in selling seasonal shares of seafood directly to consumers.
  • The second part of a two-part series in Seacoast Online exploring the tensions between fishermen and regulators focuses on the distrust surrounding NOAA’s stock assessments. Fishermen assert a “culture of arrogance” within the agency, while NOAA officials attest that there is no magic-bullet solution to fisheries management and they have taken steps to improve their relationship with the groundfish industry. Both fishermen and regulators highlight the need for cooperative research that takes fishermen’s observations into account and improves the transparency of the scientific process behind stock assessments.
  • The increased presence of great white sharks on Cape Cod this summer has hit beach revenues. Nauset Beach in Orleans was forced to close during Labor Day weekend, one of the most profitable beach weekends of the year, due to nearby sightings of great whites. Shark sightings have increased dramatically this year, with many scientists concluding great whites have been drawn to the area by the booming population of gray seals. Town officials indicate that they need better emergency training and equipment to respond to potential shark incidents. A man was attacked by a great white shark off of Cape Cod this summer for the first time since 1936.
  • Ocean acidification has become an urgent concern for both scientists and fishermen, according to The Washington PostRising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels interact with water to lower ocean pH.  The ocean today is already 30 percent more acidic than pre-industrial levels, and acidity could double by 2100.  Due to oceanographic and climatic factors, some areas, including the Pacific Northwest and Chesapeake Bay, are disproportionately affected.  Acidification will primarily affect calcifying organisms like shellfish, corals, and some phytoplankton, and some shellfish farmers have already noticed the effect of more acidic waters on oyster larvae. Ecosystem effects will likely be more complex and widespread.

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