In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, October 16

No raw oysters were served at this year's Wellfleet OysterFest due to toxins in the oysters. Image via Georgia Sea Grant.

  • Chief scientists from NOAA and the British Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs co-authored a New York Times opinion piece on ocean acidification and the urgent need for improved monitoring. They say ocean acidification is “a growing threat to marine ecosystems” as well as human health. They also reference a nationwide study on the shellfish industry’s vulnerability to climate change, which indicated coastal areas off Maine and Massachusetts as among those at-risk. We still do not fully understand what the impacts of ocean acidification will be, and the authors say, “Smart investments in monitoring and observing are critical to building resilience and hedging risks that can directly affect economies at all levels.”
  • Maine lobstermen are speaking out against proposed Searsport Harbor dredging, which would dump nearly 1 million cubic yards of dredge material into upper Penobscot Bay. The lobstermen are concerned about the level of industrial toxins in the dredge material and its impacts on the lobsters, and also the fact that the dump would likely bury all lobsters and benthic life in the area. The lobstermen argue that this will negatively impact the fishery and economy.
  • In a Gloucester Daily Times letter to the editor, a Gloucester resident and former fishing captain, made the suggestion of a “fish bill,” similar to a farm bill. The resident proposes that the government compensate fishermen for money lost when closures are in place. Compensation would then decrease as fish stocks rebuild and closures are reopened.
  • The 15th annual Wellfleet OysterFest takes place this weekend, October 17-18, in Wellfleet, MA. Families and friends come from all over to attend the festival and celebrate Wellfleet’s famous shellfish. Festival-goers enjoy local seafood, arts and crafts, educational program, an oyster shuck-off competition, and more!
  • Most often shellfish must be tested for potentially harmful algae, the “common culprits” of shellfish poisoning, before entering the market. Dr. Waqass Jawaid, a researcher at Queen’s University in Belfast, UK, has created a new, simpler test for detecting the culprits. The Economist says Dr. Jawaid’s method is similar to a pregnancy test that uses antibodies to test for levels of okadaic acid that exceed the safety limit. Additionally beneficial, while current methods are known to produce false negatives, Dr. Jawaid’s method only produces false positives, allowing testers to err of the side of caution.
  • The Marine Stewardship Council released its 2014-15 Annual Report, “Celebrating 15 years of certified sustainable seafood.” The MSC updated its standards this year to reflect the best available science and management practice, and 40 new fisheries achieved MSC certification in 2014-15. In fisheries worldwide, nearly nine million metric tons of catch are certified as MSC sustainable, over 17,000 retail and restaurant products have the MSC ecolabel, and over 34,000 businesses are part of the MSC traceable global supply chain.


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