In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, January 11

Maine increased the age by which student lobstermen can complete an apprenticeship. Image via nsf.gov.

  • 2012 Maine lobster landings were the highest on record, jumping by over 18 million pounds to 123.3 million pounds from the 2011 catch of 105 million pounds. The 2011 catch was the first ever to top 100 million pounds. The abundance of lobster, and particularly a large glut of soft shell lobster unusually early in the season, has been linked to remarkably warm waters in the Gulf of Maine. The large harvest, combined with lower demand due to the lagging economy, has led to very low prices—on average just $2.68 per pound, and at one time under $2. These low prices meant a decrease in revenues compared to 2011, despite the rising costs of bait and fuel. A series of industry meetings are planned this month to discuss options for managing the abundance of lobster.
  • Brian Rothschild, of UMASS Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science and Technology, published an article this week calling the biological reference points used to determine catch limits arbitrary. He suggests that the Council adopt a lower reference point for the acceptable level of a stock relative to its unharvested population. Rothschild also stated that cuts to catch limits would be devastating, despite the fact that to date, the industry has caught less than half of its 2012 catch limit for almost all groundfish stocks.

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