In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, December 12

A North Atlantic right whale mother and calf. Photo by Brian Skerry.

  • National Fisherman featured an article by Peter Shelley, senior counsel at Conservation Law Foundation titled “A call for protections.” The article describes the wide public support for designating the Cashes Ledge Closed Area and the New England Coral Canyons and Seamounts as the first marine national monument in the Atlantic. Shelley also describes why monument protection is needed rather than protection through fishery management or national marine sanctuary.
  • New England groundfish fishermen filed a lawsuit against NOAA. The fishermen claim that the at-sea monitor requirement violates their constitutional rights. The cost of funding for the monitoring program is scheduled to shift to the industry early next year, and the fishermen want the courts to stop this. NOAA, however, no longer has the funds or flexibility to pay for the program.
  • Researchers led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) determined the amount of drag caused by fishing gear entanglement on North Atlantic right whales, which is the number one cause of death for the endangered species. Drag differed depending on the type of gear, but on average a whale entangled in fishing gear would experience 1.5 times more total body drag than a non-entangled whale. The study will be used to help inform disentanglement efforts.
  • The Town of Chatham, MA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are disputing the federal right to manage fishing within the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge. The Service claims that it was granted ownership of 3,000 acres of water and ocean bottom through a 1994 court decision, a claim that Chatham and Attorney General Maura Healy say is false. If the issue is not settled soon, it will likely go to court.
  • GMRI will host a series of Marine Resource Education Program (MREP) workshops from early January through mid-March. The program “was created by fishermen, for fishermen” to help them better understand what’s behind the fisheries science and management processes.
  • Rhode Island began accepting applications for phase two of distributing federal disaster aid for its groundfish industry. The state distributed $1.4 million during phase one, and will distribute $519,656 during phase two.
  • The Maine Legislature will take up two fisheries related bill when it returns to session in January, one that offers DMR more flexibility in setting weekly closures in the elver industry, and a second that alters lobster licensing. Bills about the scallop and urchin industries were turned down.
  • In a bipartisan vote, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Microbead Free Waters Act, which would begin phasing out microbeads in personal care products staring on July 1, 2017. Several states have already passed similar legislation. The bill now moves to the Senate.

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