In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, December 18

New England is home to an abundance of the spiny dogfish shark. Photo courtesy of NHCS.

  • Fish stock productivity is declining across the globe according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study analyzed data from 262 commercial fish stocks from around the world and determined a link between declining populations of juvenile fish and phytoplankton abundance, which is directly related to climate change and increasing ocean temperatures. The worst declines were reported in the North Atlantic, where about half of fish species are negatively impacted by climate change, according to a NEFSC report.
  • A new study reports that increasing ocean acidification will inhibit the ability of baby fish to find homes on reefs and mangroves due to its impact on neurological pathways and the fishes’ hearing ability. The researchers also discovered that high levels of carbon dioxide slow down baby fish.
  • A recent article in the Standard-Times highlighted the shortcomings of NOAA’s fish models used in New England. The current models do not consider shifting fish populations due to climate change and increasing ocean temperatures, and they only examine one species at a time. The article emphasized the need to address climate change in fish models and also highlighted the importance for an ecosystem-based management approach.
  • Entanglement in fishing gear is a major threat for marine mammals, specifically whales. A study conducted by the New England Aquarium and the Center for Coastal Studies reports that dangerous entanglements could be reduced by 72 percent if the fishing industry use ropes that break at 1,700 pounds.
  • Using a federal grant for $1.3 million, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute will study the impacts of climate change on fishing communities, including ecological, social, and economic impacts. GMRI will produce tools to evaluate vulnerability and possibilities for adaptation.
  • NOAA is leading a group of maritime historians, climate scientists, and citizens on a project to examine 19th-century whaling ship logbooks to better understand climate change and weather patterns. The logbooks include longitude and latitude measurements, weather conditions, and iceberg data, which will be compared to current conditions. NOAA scientists hope to use the data to create computer models for past and future climate conditions.
  • A Cape Cod fisherman said that with dwindling cod populations, dogfish is a viable and responsible alternative. The challenge that remains, however, is finding a market for the species, but the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance is helping to do just that. According to an article in the Cape and Plymouth Business Magazine, “expansion of the dogfish market would generate $12 million in economic benefit to fishermen and an additional $26 million in increased economic activity throughout the supply chain.”
  • Salem State University marine research scientists received the green-light from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop a mussel aquaculture farm in the deep waters off Cape Ann. The researchers have only been granted authorization to install experimental lines and determine potential issues, but the team must raise $75,000 before they can begin.
  • The Fishing Communities Coalition, which represents over 1,000 conservation-minded members of the small boat commercial fishing community in the U.S., submitted a letter in response to riders within the FY16 House and Senate Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bills. The letter objects to using the bill to amend the Magnuson-Stevens Act by limiting funding for federal fisheries management, specifically in the Gulf of Mexico, and by subverting regional fishery council processes.

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