In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, May 22

In New England, Atlantic cod has been overfished and subject to overfishing for decades. Image via NOAA.

  • The Obama Administration stated it would veto H.R. 1335, the bill to reauthorize the Magnuson Stevens Act, if presented with it in its current form. On Tuesday, the House Rules Committee reported out H.R. 1335, to which the Obama Administration expressed strong opposition. In a statement made that day, the Administration stated that current MSA requirements are working, but the reauthorization bill “would harm the environment and the economy… [and] undermine the use of science-based actions to end and prevent overfishing.”
  • A recent South Coast Today article outlines the debate between the fishing industry and environmental groups regarding the House bill to amend the Magnuson Stevens Act. Peter Shelley, Interim President of Conservation Law Foundation, said the bill “reintroduces a lot of politics into fisheries management that it took decades to get rid of.”
  • Fishery managers delayed the decision at their previous meeting, but the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council will vote on a historic plan to protect deep-sea corals at its June 8-11 Council meeting. The Council plans to select preferred alternatives for the Deep Sea Corals Amendment for submission to NOAA Fisheries.
  • The Nature Conservancy and its partners are working to restore 5,000 acres of native shellfish habitats in Massachusetts. Projects are already planned for areas of the North Shore, South Shore, Boston, Buzzards Bay, Cape Cod, and the Islands. The initiative began two years ago and plans to complete restoration efforts by 2050.
  • Last week, Mystic Aquarium researchers confirmed the sighting of beluga whales off the coast of Rhode Island. NOAA and the RI Department of Environmental Management obtained biopsies of the animals to assess their healthy and genetic origin. It is believed that the whales are from the (unlisted) threatened St. Lawrence population. Boaters are reminded to stay at least 100 feet away from the whales, and slow down if whales are in the area.
  • The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is evaluating the health of the black sea bass population north of Cape Hatteras to help inform the management of the species. All meetings are open to the public, and ASMFC is accepting data submissions that will improve the accuracy of the assessment. Black sea bass populations have migrated to more northern waters as ocean temperatures rise.
  • NEFMC and MAFMC jointly submitted to NMFS an Omnibus Amendment to Simplify Vessel Baselines. NMFS says the proposed amendment will simplify Atlantic boat documentation by cutting work for both permit holders and the agency.
  • Last week on National Endangered Species Day, NOAA announced its “Species in the Spotlight” initiative featuring eight of the most at risk species on the Endangered Species list, one of which is the Atlantic salmon Gulf of Maine population. The initiative will include efforts to stabilize populations, and set them on the road to recovery.
  • The Boston Globe recently featured an excerpt from the book The President’s Salmon by Catherine Schmitt. The excerpt tells the story of the near century long tradition of Maine salmon anglers presenting the President with the season’s first Atlantic salmon caught on the Penobscot River. Claude Westfall was the last angler to present the endangered fish to President H.W. Bush in 1992.
  • Fishermen and women are at the top of the “deadliest jobs” lists, according to Bloomberg Business analysis of on-the-job fatalities rates in U.S. occupations. Bloomberg used seven years of data (up to 2013). According to the Center for Disease Control, commercial fishermen in the Northeast face the greatest threat.
  • Tickets are now on sale for the 4th Annual Boston Seafood Festival on August 2, 2015. The festival offers local New England seafood, an all-day lobster bake, an oyster shucking contest and more. The festival is presented by the Boston Fisheries Foundation.


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