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In the News
Fish Talk in the News – Friday, October 10
Groundfish Areas Closed in New England: Current (left) and Worst-Case Scenario (right). Photo Credit: The Pew Charitable Trusts
- It is an important time for ocean planning in New England. The Northeast Regional Planning Body is beginning its discussions on what the new ocean plan should look like. Ocean planning considers sound science and input from interested stakeholders, so that “decision makers will be better able to make smart, balanced choices about how to preserve a healthy ocean and a thriving economy.” Public meetings are being held through the month of October leading up to the November 13-14th RPB meeting.
- The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has reduced the number of allowable fishing days for Atlantic herring from seven days a week to four days a week. The restriction applies to a heavily fished area of the Gulf of Maine. Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts spawning areas are also closed until late October.
- New electronic tracking data indicates that great white sharks are moving into Cape Cod Bay. Signals from Katharine, a 2,300 pound, 14-foot great white, were detected on Tuesday and Wednesday. According to Greg Skomal of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, “Katharine’s move into Cape Cod Bay may be a sign that Chatham is becoming overcrowded by shark standards and some are exploring less crowded hunting grounds to the north and into the bay.” Over the summer, Skomal identified 56 individual great whites and tagged 15.
- A Portland Press Herald article tells the story of the role that women play in Maine commercial fisheries. Even though the amount of female fishermen has remained steady at 4% for about a decade, “female fishermen say the numbers don’t reflect the growth they’ve witnessed.” Of course women have always played a role in commercial fishing, such as keeping the books or maintaining fishing gear, but more are now out on the water. Manufacturing companies are even now producing female lines of commercial fishing wear. Two female lobstermen quoted in the article say “they’re hard-pressed to think of any barriers to entry for women, beyond just history and tradition.”
- The Eel Working Group is expected to soon make 2015 fishing year recommendations for the Maine elver fishery. According to federal officials, new regulations could range from keeping the current 11,749 pound quota to closing the fishery. 2014 was the first year the fishery had a quota.
- A Gloucester Daily Times article highlights the pressing need to find a market for invasive green crabs. Green crabs have overtaken shorelines from Nova Scotia to South Carolina, where they are threatening native species and habitat. A professor of marine biology at the University of Maine worries that green crabs may very well bring about the end of Maine clam stocks and eelgrass beds if the crab population goes uncontrolled.
- The new exhibit “Portraits of a Working Waterfront” opens this weekend at the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester, MA. The exhibit is a collection of 71 photographs featuring 154 individuals and is “designed to illustrate the maritime web of relationships that exist in Gloucester, the nation’s oldest seaport.”
- NOAA’s Okeanos Explorer wrapped up its exploration of the Atlantic coast deep-sea ecosystem earlier this week. A team of scientists had been collecting data on the Atlantic submarine canyons and the New England Seamount Chain since early September. Photos and videos from exploration can be found here.
- The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) began its 2014 fall Atlantic salmon stockings. DEEP released a total of 500 salmon into the Naugatuck River, Mount Tom Pond, Crystal Lake, and Beach Pond.
- The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) issued a cease and desist order to Joe Vaudo, the owner of Joe’s Lobster Mart located in Sandwich, MA. DPH previously revoked Vaudo’s business license to buy and sell seafood after he purchased stolen oysters last year. The cease and desist order comes after Vaudo’s unsuccessful attempt to appeal the revocation.
- NMFS will be hosting a free open house on October 18th from 9am-1pm at 212 Rogers Ave, Milford, CT. Displays at the open house “will be centered around shellfish and finfish aquaculture, Long Island Sound habitat research, marine science sampling gear, a live ‘Touch Tank,’ and the lab’s history.” People of all ages with an interest in marine sciences and the environment are welcome!
- The Portland Fish Exchange, a 30-year old groundfish auction house in Portland, ME, is undergoing renovations. The project is funded by a $1 million bond from the state. Renovations include a new roof, cost-effective lighting, and energy-efficient windows.
- The health of Long Island Sound is continuing to improve. According to the EPA, the sound has had fewer dead zones for the second summer in a row. Nitrogen levels are declining because of improved waste treatment plants and more favorable weather.
- The Environmental Working Group released a new online tool that helps consumers choose more sustainable and healthier seafood. The tool uses information from the Food and Drug Administration and from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program to better inform consumers.