In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, August 14

A red cod swims through healthy kelp at Cashes Ledge in the Gulf of Maine. Photo credit: Brian Skerry/NEOO

  • At a Gloucester event on Thursday, Governor Baker expressed his support for New England fisherman and attacked NOAA’s plan to shift the cost of at-sea monitoring to the industry come October. He said that NOAA should be paying for the monitors themselves, and also articulated the need for the use of a third party when conducting stock assessments.
  • Sylvia Earle and the Mission Blue team ventured to Cashes Ledge for a Hope Spot Expedition where she dived among the beautiful kelp forest and amazing wildlife. After the dive, Dr. Earle said, “Cashes Ledge is the Yellowstone of the North Atlantic.” She has declared Cashes Ledge, as well as the New England Canyons and Seamounts, as ocean “Hope Spots,” areas that can help “return the ocean to a healthy state.” Filmmaker Bob Nixon documented the expedition for his new documentary, Blue Centennial. You can view images and video from the dive here.
  • The 9,688 pound quota for the Maine elver fishery, the biggest elver fishery in the U.S., will remain the same for next year. Fishermen only caught 5,242 pounds in the 2015 season. The baby eels are sold to Asian aquaculture companies, and this year’s catch was valued at a record 42,172 per pound. An ASMFC spokeswoman said that the quota will be reevaluated in 2017.
  • An NPR story this week highlighted Christopher Clark, a bioacoustics researcher at Cornell University. Clark uses hydrophones to study whale sounds. A major issue, however, is that ocean noise such as from a ship’s propeller can threaten the whales who often sing to migrate. According to the story, the International Marine Organization issues guidelines to reduce ship noise in 2013.
  • New research shows that a three month course of daily fish oil capsules may reduce the psychotic disorder rates in at-high-risk young people. The study, however, had a very small sample size and must be applied larger population. Fish high in omega-3-fatty acids, such as salmon and mackerel, are used to produce fish oil supplements.
  • The New England Fishery Management Council needs to fill two vacancies on its Groundfish Advisory Panel. The advisory panel provides information to the Groundfish Committee and full Council. Those interested should apply before August 31, 2015.
  • The Portland Press Herald Saltwater Fishing Report publishes updates about recreational fishing in Maine waters. The latest report includes information on cod and haddock regulations, mako and thresher sharks, striper zones, and more. You can find the latest report here.
  • Activists are attempting to dry up modes of transportation for shark fin trade. 166,000 people have signed on to a Care2 petition asking UPS to stop shipping shark fins. Big companies like American Airlines have already changed policies to stop transporting shark fins, but UPS has not followed. UPS says that many of the sharks it ships are not listed as endangered, so their activities are not illegal.
  • NOAA Fisheries announced the reduction in northern red hake commercial possession limit to 1,500 lbs per trip. Northern red hake is managed under the Northeast Multispecies Fisheries Management Plan. As published in the federal register, “regulations require the Regional Administrator to reduce…the limit from 3,000 lb (1,361 kg) to 1,500 lb (680 kg) when landings have been projected to reach or exceed 45 percent of the total allowable landings.” The reduction is effective through April 30, 2016.
  • NOAA Fisheries announced new rules for improving mackerel catch monitoring and dealing with slippage as part of the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan (managed by MAFMC). Slippage is defined as species that are “discard[ed] before monitors can observe them.” The rules, taking effect September 11, 2015, require that slippage is reported through the vessel monitoring system. NMFS hopes the rule will help better monitor dogfish, shad, and river herring bycatch.

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