In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, April 24

A red cod and cunner swim on Ammen Rock, the highest peak of Cashes Ledge. Photo credit: Brian Skerry/NEOO.

  • At this week’s council meeting, the New England Fishery Management Council began final votes on the Omnibus Habitat Amendment 2. The Council voted to revise its essential fish habitat designations and added to its list of Habitat Areas of Particular Concern. Cashes Ledge will remain closed to commercial fishing, a victory that is offset by the opening of an area in Western Gulf of Maine. Unfortunately, Peter Baker says the council continues “on a course to eliminate thousands of square miles of important fish habitat areas.” The Council did not reach a final decision on all motions and will continue voting at its June meeting. You can find out more from the Council’s press release here.
  • On behalf of the scallop industry, the Fisheries Survival Fund submitted a point-by-point rebuttal to John Bullard’s letter to the NEFMC. Scallop fishermen supported the Habitat Committee’s recommendations to open several areas of Georges Bank, the Gulf of Maine, and the Great South Channel. Bullard’s letter, however, stated that he opposed many of these actions.
  • The Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) is reaching out to industry members, scientists, and regional managers to improve its fishery resource surveys. In light of the struggling groundfish stocks, NEFSC recognizes the importance of improving understanding of stock condition and dynamics in the region.
  • U.S. vendors are relying more on Canadian imports of coldwater shrimp due to the closure of Maine’s northern shrimp fishery. Canadian shrimp imports to the U.S. increased nearly 20% from 2013 to 2014, and prices have increased as well.
  • New Atlantic sea scallop fishing rules as established in Framework 26 will take effect in May. The rule sets catch limits at 38,061 metric tons for 2015 and 45,456 metric tons for 2016; 567 metric tons are reserved for research set-aside. The rules also establish limits for certain areas and quotas for full-time, part-time, and occasional fishermen.
  • Maine’s elver season is off to a slow start driving prices up to historic highs. The elver fishery is one of Maine’s most valuable. State regulators say that prices this season are about $1,800 per pound.
  • NOAA Fisheries released a four-year implementation plan to support the latest National Saltwater Recreational Fishing Policy. Recreational fishing groups are praising the plan and recognize it as a positive step forward for the recreational fishing industry.
  • NEFMC awarded former Commercial Fisheries News (CFN) Associate Editor Janice Plante the Council’s first award for excellence. The award was named in her honor. Ms. Plante covered fisheries issues over a 30 year career at CFN and was recognized for her ability to break down the complicated details.
  • The Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association joined the Seafood Harvesters of America, a national organization that works on federal fishing issues. Mass Lobstermen’s Executive Director Beth Casoni says that joining the group “gives them another set of eyes on the federal issues.”
  • NOAA is reminding boaters to slow down for right whales currently migrating through the Gulf of Maine and northern Atlantic. Boats larger than 65 feet passing through the management areas are required to travel at 10 knots or less. The agency has already ticketed four vessels for speed violations.

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