In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, February 27

Atlantic cod. (Photo credit: Joachim Muller)

  • NOAA Fisheries and New England fishery stakeholders arrived at a compromise regarding Gulf of Maine cod interim measures. Gloucester sector fishermen agreed to surrender 30 metric tons of their cod allocation, and NOAA will eliminate the 200 pound per trip bycatch limit and reopen the broad stock areas. The rolling closures implemented by the interim measures, however, will remain in effect.
  • The New England Fishery Management Council submitted Framework Adjustment 53 to the Northeast Multispecies Plan to NOAA Fisheries for review. The framework intends to incorporate updated stock assessments into management specifications for several groundfish species and also establish further Gulf of Maine cod management measures for the health of the species.
  • The National Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), a group of 40 scientists from the eight Regional Fishery Management Councils, met this week in Honolulu, HI to discuss key fishery management issues regarding climate change, ecosystem-based management, and other uncertain environmental changes. A major takeaway from the meeting was that ecosystems as a whole must be considered in management decisions, especially as climate changes. Chair of the National SSC, Charles Daxboeck stated, “Councils and SSCs tend to be reactive to single species issues as stock declines, bycatch problems, or protected species interaction issues. Ecosystem-based management can look at these as a series of interconnected events,” and ultimately create a better understanding of fisheries issues.
  • The Maine lobster industry experienced another historic year of landings and value. According to the Maine Department of Marine Resources, Maine lobstermen landed 123.6 million pounds of lobster yielding a record value of $456,935,346. The value of landings increased $0.79 per pound compared to 2013 prices, which is the largest per pound increase in Maine DMR history. Governor Paul R. LePage said, “The Maine lobster industry’s longstanding commitment to responsible harvesting practices continues to sustain not only this fishery but also Maine’s coastal economy.”
  • A new study published in Nature Climate Change warns coastal communities that ocean acidification threatens their shellfish industries. Acidic oceans inhibit shell formation and can destroy shellfish larvae. Scallops, oysters, and clams are of particular concern in New England. The study’s authors say understanding how your community is most vulnerable to ocean acidification will be important for adaptation.
  • As part of the effort to rebuild the state’s scallop fishery, Maine fishery managers are preparing to close nine scallop areas starting on March 2 due to the large volume of catch. Other areas will remain open until April.
  • At the request of NEFMC, NOAA Fisheries will host three days of meetings, March 17-19, in New Bedford, MA to peer review sea scallop survey methodologies and their implementation in scallop management. Survey methods currently include dredging from research and commercial vessels, drop cameras, and the “HabCam” system. The meeting is open to the public and will also be available via webinar.
  • UMass Dartmouth and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries will host a “Sustaining Massachusetts Fisheries Summit” on March 2. Fisheries stakeholders will convene to discuss how to improve the understanding of fisheries in Massachusetts as a vital aspect of the state’s economy and culture.

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