In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, January 9

Fishing boats in New Bedford, MA.

  • After 90 days, the Omnibus Habitat Amendment 2 DEIS (OA2 DEIS) public comment period ended yesterday. The New England Fishery Management Council will use the comments during its decision making process for the various alternatives put forth in the OA2 DEIS, many of which threaten to open existing closed areas to commercial fishing. A Portland Press Herald article laid out the debate surrounding this controversial amendment, with a focus on Cashes Ledge.
  • Last week, a New York Times op-ed commented on the declining trend in New England fish stocks. According to the article, overfishing is not a new phenomenon, but actually grounded in the area’s history.  The author claims that no individual or industry in particular is to blame for the large-scale problem; it’s the “system” overexploiting open access resources.
  • “New England groundfish kingpin,” Carlos Rafael says he is selling his scallopers and groundfish draggers. Mr. Rafael, a New Bedford-based fisherman, made the decision to sell his fleet after Massachusetts changed its federal groundfish disaster relief aid policy. Some have expressed doubts about whether or not Mr. Rafael will complete the deal.
  • Matt Mullin of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) says that electronic monitoring is one solution that can help “pave a path forward for fishermen in New England.” EDF has already declared its support for 100% monitoring of all New England fishing boats, and in this recent article, Mullin claims that electronic monitoring is a proven inexpensive and effective approach to better understanding our fisheries.
  • Massachusetts will receive its second round of federal aid funding from NOAA. The $8.3 million dollars will be used “to address the ripple effects felt throughout the state’s fishing communities.”
  • Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren says she will push the new Congress for more federal funding to help the state’s suffering fishing industry. She says she will ask NOAA for more funding to study fish stocks and improve the science behind fishing regulations.
  • NOAA began its 2015 hydrographic survey season. The Ferdinand R. Hassler is using a multibeam echosounder and sidescan sonar to conduct surveys in the Gulf of Maine from January 5 to February 13, and will cover areas heavily used by commercial fishermen. The data will be used to update Gulf of Maine nautical charts.
  • The U.S. Department of Commerce appointed John Pappalardo of Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance to the New England Fishery Management Council. Pappalardo will serve on the Council through August 10, 2017.
  • NEFMC released the agenda for its next Council meeting. The meeting will be January 27-29, 2015 in Portsmouth, NH.
  • The future of the Cape Wind offshore wind farm is uncertain. Workers were supposed to begin digging for the project by the end of 2014, but National Grid and Northeast Utilities ended their contracts with Cape Wind after the developer was unable to secure proper financing. Cape Wind asked for a contract deadline extension but was denied.
  • “Lost at Sea” is a booklet for sale at New Bedford’s Whaling Museum. It tells the stories of two fishing boat disasters, one in 2004 and one in 2007. Many say that commercial fishing is the most dangerous occupation in the US.

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