In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, June 12

Image of Stonington Harbor, Maine.

  • NEFMC’s Groundfish Committee wants the Council to request from NOAA emergency action to suspend the require at-sea monitoring program for the groundfish industry. The Committee and fishermen are concerned about the cost of the program, which fishermen will have to start paying for in August. The issue is on the agenda for June 18 at next week’s Council meeting.
  • A co-authored opinion piece in the Seattle Times by Linda Behnken, a commercial fisherman and director of Alaska’s Longline Fishermen’s Association, and Peter Shelley, interim president of Conservation Law Foundation speaks to the success of the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) in creating sustainable U.S. Fisheries since 1976 and explains why the current reauthorization jeopardizes this success. MSA has provided economic benefits to thousands of people, communities, and businesses that rely on healthy coastal and ocean ecosystems, and we must stay the course. “Any changes to the act should be done in the spirit of protecting a vital national resource,” say the co-authors.
  • A Bangor Daily News opinion article calls for local control of fisheries to improve management of rebuilding depleted fish populations. 10-year rebuilding plans have been a key part of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and the success of U.S. fisheries, but policymakers are trying to eliminate them to establish more “flexibility” in fisheries management. Proponents of the current House fisheries bill argue that the 10-year limit does not apply to all fish and all regions. While this is a valid point, we must remember the big picture and manage our fisheries on an ecosystem-based level and not sacrifice long-term ocean health for short-term economic benefits.
  • In a historic vote this week, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council protected the largest ocean area in U.S. Atlantic waters from destructive bottom fishing. The area protected covers more than 38,000 square miles of ocean habitat where fragile coral communities are known to be located. NOAA Fisheries has the ultimate decision on finalize the vote.
  • Today the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will discuss management options for Maine’s collapsed Northern shrimp fishery. ASMFC will review collected public comments regarding the fishery and the development of a “limited entry fishing program.”
  • Maine state regulators are considering a swipe card system for the state’s sea urchin fishery, but fishermen and dealers are skeptical. Regulators say the swipe card system will improve management and allow real time updates, but others say that it is unnecessary because urchin fishermen already keep detailed logs and the fishery is highly regulated. The 2015-16 urchin fishing season is open September 2015 – March 2016.
  • Maine Technology Institute, a nonprofit that supports state technological ventures, issued a $50,000 grant to help grow Maine’s algae industry. Bigelow Lab for Ocean Sciences is responsible for determining the challenges facing the industry, and the grant will help to develop a plan for addressing them.
  • Governor Christie of New Jersey filed a complaint in U.S. district Court to stop a Rutgers University research project that would use seismic testing to map seafloor sediment. Seismic testing is proven to be harmful to marine mammals. The lawsuit is similar to one that was previously defeated last year.
  • A fishing vessel, “Bear Cove Point,” sank off Georges Bank about 175km southwest of Yarmouth on Tuesday. All four crew members were rescued and brought safely to shore by another fishing boat.
  • NOAA announced that those who applied for Saltonstall-Kennedy grants will be notified of their status by early July and funds will be available by late August/early September. $18 million in federal money was allocated to the grant funding this year.

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