In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, December 4

Image via NOAA.

  • Today, December 4, is Ocean Day at the Paris Climate Talks. A sideline event to COP 21, the day will consist of science and policy reports on topics such as climate change and fisheries, ocean acidification, and biodiversity. The goal of the day is to produce a five year action plan for our oceans and climate change.
  • Considering recommendations from its Science and Statistical Committee, the New England Fishery Management Council voted this week to raise and lower Gulf of Maine cod and Georges Banks cod commercial quotas, respectively. The Gulf of Maine cod quota was raised slightly from 207 metric tons to 280 metric tons, which will be held constant for the next three years. The Georges Bank cod quota was cut from 1,787 metric tons to 608 metric tons, which will also be held constant until 2019.
  • NOAA Fisheries announced that federal funding for at-sea monitoring in New England’s groundfish fishery will continue into 2016. Three sub-contractors provide funding for the fishery, two of which are expected to run out of money by the end of the year. Currently, the third contractor, which provides observers for only about 2 percent of the fleet, has $200,000 still available. This amount corresponds to 250-300 sea days of at-sea monitoring. Once these days are used, which will likely occur in early 2016, the industry will be required to pay for all monitoring costs.
  • Researchers confirmed the sighting of a North Atlantic right whale seen off the coast of Gloucester on Sunday morning. The individual came within 300 feet of the shoreline, which is a rare occurrence. The population of North Atlantic right whales is only about 500.
  • A Florida dog owner trained his canine friend, Lila, to dive down and catch lobsters off the sea floor. Alex Shulze is the co-founder of an online retailer that supports ocean conservation; he posted a video of how you can train your dog to catch a lobster However, as the Bangor Daily News points out, this might be more difficult in New England’s murky waters. Also Florida’s spiny lobsters do not have the large front claws like our famed seafood.
  • In the New Yorker, author Paul Greenberg discusses the history of salmon in the U.S. as it relates to the development of genetically engineered AquAdvantage salmon. He comments on the depleted wild populations and the already present consumer confusion surrounding salmon due to mislabeling of products. Furthermore, he notes the mistakes that the aquaculture industry has made in the past, but also acknowledges the forward progress it has made while wild populations continue to be overtaxed.
  • NOAA Fisheries released a statement by U.S. Commissioner Russell Smith regarding the 2015 ICCAT meeting. Smith comments positively on the decisions made to in regards to bluefin tuna and North Atlantic albacore, but says the Commission came up short on addressing overfishing of bigeye tuna. Also of note, ICCAT fisheries will be required to release porbeagle sharks, if caught.
  • Holly Bamford will become Chief Conservation Officer, a newly created position, for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Dr. Bamford is currently NOAA’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Conservation and Management and will begin her new position on February 8.

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