In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, November 28

NOAA ship Henry B. Bigelow conducts fish trawl surveys in the Gulf of Maine. Photo Credit: NOAA/NEFSC.

  • With reports on the status of New England fisheries and the declining Gulf of Maine cod population filling the news, a Boston Globe article answers the question of just how does the government count fish in the Gulf of Maine? Two times a year, NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center conducts 20-minute “otter trawl” surveys in 50 to 70 randomly select areas. Combining information collected by these surveys with industry data, scientists use a statistical model to produce a stock assessment. There is much debate over the validity of data produced through this process, and many argue that NOAA needs to incorporate more industry-collected data.  Whether the process can be improved or not, the article concludes by stating that overfishing is the true cause of declining stocks.
  • NEFMC released a reminder of the Omnibus Habitat Amendment 2 public hearings that are being conducted now through early January.
  • NEFMC voted last week to allow federally licensed Maine scallop fishermen to participate in Maine’s winter scallop season, even if the federal annual catch limit has been reached. Scallopers see the vote as a victory, and a step forward in rebuilding the inshore scallop fishery.
  • Shellfish aquaculture may begin to play a major role in New England’s seafood industry, according to a Sunday Boston Globe article. The Army Corp of Engineers approved the first mussel farming permit on the east coast last month. This permit will likely increase New England’s and the US’s share of this growing market.
  • The auction for wind power leases off of Martha’s Vineyard will begin on January 29, 2015. Twelve eligible companies are bidding for four leases that will cover 742,000 acres south of Martha’s Vineyard. The project is expected to provide 1.4 million houses with wind-generated electricity.
  • Only two weeks into the eight week season, nearly 1,000 sea turtles have been stranded on Cape Cod beaches, almost double the yearly record. NEAQ has already treated 400 turtles, and more are expected.
  • ASMFC is preparing for the 2015 bluefish benchmark stock assessment. The Council will use the assessment to “evaluate the health of the Bluefish population and inform the management of the species.”
  • ASMFC released the October/November issue of Fisheries Focus. The issue includes information on fishery management actions, proposed actions, science highlights, and more.
  • The Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) completed two new fishway projects in Maine that will help migrating Atlantic salmon, river herring, eel, and trout populations. The projects in the Penobscot and East Machias watersheds have “focused on reconnecting key spawning tributaries to the larger rivers and Gulf of Maine.” ASF has completed 20 fish passage projects over the last decade.
  • The Marine Stewardship Council and the New England Aquarium have partnered to develop a bycatch mitigation tool. MSC is currently collecting surveys to assist in developing the tool, which will be used to provide the best available information on minimizing or avoiding bycatch.
  • The Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation in Hampton, NH is now home to two rare creatures, a calico lobster and a partial blue lobster. The calico lobster, blackish brown and bright orange in color, is only 1 in 30 million, and the partial blue lobster is 1 in 2 million. The lobsters were caught off the Isle of Shoals.
  • Five Boston Fish Pier companies are required to pay taxes for overstaying their leases, ruled the Massachusetts Court of Appeals. The companies overstayed their leases for five years.

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