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In the News
Fish Talk in the News – Friday, April 3
Porbeagle sharks are commonly caught as bycatch and populations are dwindling. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
- The Senate unanimously approved the budget amendment proposed by New England delegation to support at-sea fishery observers and dockside monitoring. The observers and monitoring will be available for fisheries that received disaster aid in 2012.
- Maine Legislature’s Marine Resources Committee unanimously voted to not pass a bill that would have decreased the scallop daily catch limit and allowed fishermen with lapsed license into the fishery. The vote came after many showed great opposition to the bill at a public hearing on Wednesday.
- People gathered at a public meeting in Portland this week to discuss Maine’s shrimp catch. Low population numbers have forced the fishery two shut down for two consecutive seasons. Another public hearing is expected in the fall, and comments will be considered for an updated management plan.
- A South Portland lobsterman is urging state legislators to support the EPA’s proposed rule to reduce carbon pollution from power plants. He states that lobster fisheries have already near-collapsed due to warming waters and we must act to further protect ourselves from the impacts of climate change.
- The Cape Cod National Seashore Advisory Commission is meeting with the state Division of Marine Fisheries to discuss its opposition to hydraulic clam dredging in Herring Cove. Seashore is relying on science from Center for Coastal Studies geologists who assert the negative effects of dredging on marine habitat, while DMF has argued that such claims are unsubstantiated.
- Chatham, MA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are in disagreement over a Comprehensive Conservation Plan that is expected to be finalized in July. The plan manages thousands of acres of shorebird refuge. The town opposes the proposed plan because it would give federal control over fisheries that are usually town or state managed and would also take 717 acres of town property.
- A new Oceana study found that 38% of Chesapeake Bay crab cakes labeled as blue crab in restaurants were mislabeled. The organization visited 86 restaurants and used DNA-testing to sample 90 crab cakes. The DNA-testing revealed that the crabs were not blue crabs, but could determine the origin of the crab. Oceana did not state which restaurants it sampled because mislabeling could occur elsewhere in the supply chain.
- Aware of the increasing risk to our coastal communities and economies, New England states want to form a multistate pact to fight ocean acidification. Following Maine’s example, Massachusetts and Rhode Island legislators are working on bills to establish ocean acidification research panels. Ocean acidification is a global issue with local impacts, and state legislators believe they can be more effective by joining forces.
- NOAA awarded the Rhode Island Sea Grant program $1.6 million to complete projects related to fisheries, coastal habitat, and climate resilience. RI Sea Grant has worked with state officials on a variety of projects such as shellfish management plans and guidelines for commercial ocean development.
- A University of Rhode Island lab study showed that ocean acidification is likely causing juvenile lobster growth and molting rates to decrease. URI doctoral student Erin McLean stated that “it takes energy for [lobsters] to regulate the increased acidity, which is energy they cannot then put toward growth.” She predicts that adult lobsters are experiencing similar effects.
- The National Marine Fisheries Service accepted two petitions to list the porbeagle shark as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. NMFS will be reviewing the status of the species in coming months and should reach a decision by December 2015. The porbeagle shark is often caught as bycatch by commercial fisheries.