In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, February 6

Atlantic sea scallops are among the species that could be affected by climate change and ocean acidification. Photo Credit: fishwatch.gov

  • Summary documents for the Omnibus Habitat Amendment 2 DEIS public hearings and public comments are now available. These files will be posted on NEFMC’s website soon.
  • Maine lawmakers are proposing four bills focused on combating the effects of ocean acidification, a major threat to their shellfish industry. Included in the bills is a $3 million bond for increased monitoring of point-source pollution that contributes to acidification.
  • New Hampshire state representatives are considering a bill requiring communities to acknowledge commercial and recreational fishing as “home occupations.” The Fishing Family Protection Act would allow NH fishermen to store their fishing gear on their own residential property, which has been an issue for some in the past. The bill is supported by representatives from both the House and Senate.
  • George Peterson, a former Gloucester fisherman, will serve as the new Commissioner for the Department of Fish and Game. Peterson previously served ten terms in the House of Representatives.
  • The Maine Department of Marine Resources is reallocating the state elver quota based on reductions made by ASMFC last fall. DMR is proposing reducing catch allocations to the state’s four federally-recognized tribes and then dividing the remaining quota among nontribal licensed fishermen. Maine’s elver fishery is a multi-million dollar industry, and the baby fish is the fourth most valuable wild-caught species in the state.
  • Manufacturers and environmentalists united to support a bill that would ban products containing microbeads in Maine. Maine Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee was able to push the bill through in one day, and it now awaits final vote from the entire Legislature before going on to the Governor for final signature. The bill is modeled after similar legislation in Illinois and New York.
  • Johnny’s Luncheonette in Newton Centre hosted a “Dishing about Fishing” dinner event last week featuring fresh catch from Boston-based seafood distributor Red’s Best. Red’s Best uses traceability labels to track where and how a fish was caught and is committed to giving fishermen a fair price for their product. Johnny’s co-owner Karen Masterson said, “We need to go to the ocean with the same mentality as we go to farmers’ markets. We should eat what is abundant and available.”
  • NMFS announced that the Council chairs, vice chairs, and executive directors of all the regional fishery management councils will meet in Washington D.C. on February 18th and 19th. The leaders, who make up the Council Coordinating Committee, will discuss 2015 priorities, climate science strategy, Magnuson-Stevens Act reauthorization, and more. The public is welcome to attend.
  • ASMFC 2015 winter meeting was held this week in Alexandria, VA. The Commission moved forward with decisions regarding northern shrimp, American lobster, summer flounder, and more.
  • The Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office’s final strategic plan is now available. The plan addresses GARFO’s approach to sustainable fisheries, protected resources, habitat conservation, community resiliency, aquaculture, organizational excellence, and customer service over the next five years.
  • The Northeast Regional Planning Body released its January monthly update. The RPB is in Phase two of its fisheries characterization project, which focuses on differentiating between areas for fishing and other activities, as well as characterizing the New England lobster industry and collecting new data on charter fisheries.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering new guidelines for organically farmed fish. The definition of “organic” disqualifies many farmed fish from being labeled as such, but a new set of rules would establish guidelines for permitting fish pens in the open ocean and for the allowable amount of nonorganic fish feed given to farmed fish. Consumer groups are concerned the new rules will devalue the meaning of organic standards.

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