In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, October 2

New stock assessments indicate the Georges Bank cod population is in a dire state. Image via Maine.gov

  • New stock assessments indicate a collapse of Georges Bank cod. The continually declining stock is showing the impacts of sustained overfishing and warming oceans. The New England Fishery Management Council reviewed a presentation on the status of Georges Bank cod at this week’s Council meeting and is expected to set a quota at its December meeting.
  • After lengthy debate, NEFMC voted to postpone any decision on industry funded fisheries observer program. Postponing a final decision provides the Council with more time to discuss cost and feasibility issues.
  • Thursday October 15 is the mandatory Coast Guard safety inspection Commercial fishing vessels that fish three miles or more offshore or carry more than 16 people are required to undergo an inspection to ensure they have the proper safety equipment. The inspections are good for five years.
  • Many recreational fishermen have had to find alternate jobs this season due to cod and haddock regulations. When fishing in New England, people want to catch cod and haddock, and if they can’t keep them, many don’t fish at all. The fishermen say they understand the need to protect the populations, but are still grappling with the closure.
  • NOAA Fisheries announced that recreational size regulations for Gulf of Maine haddock and cod will remain in effect. The minimum sizes were previously implemented through an interim rule. Public comment opened after the rule was issued. NOAA Fisheries received 43 public comments, most of which “expressed general opposition” and did not provide “any new information or justification to change the interim final rule.”
  • ASMFC announced new “days out” measures for Atlantic herring Area 1A for October through December. Effective Monday October 5, Monday through Wednesday will be consecutive landing days (previously zero landing days). States can implement different start and finish times for the days.
  • The Gloucester-based Large Pelagics Research Center is moving to Boston to join UMass Boston’s School for the Environment. The center was previously associated with UMass Amherst and led research on migration and breeding habits of bluefin tuna and other highly migratory species, such as leatherback turtles and sharks.
  • The Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance organized community members at this week’s NEFMC Council meeting to urge the Council to consider the plight of small fishermen when making policy decisions. Joining the group was former New England Patriots player Jarvis Green, who grew up around shrimpers in Louisiana, and expressed his support for small boat fishermen.
  • Massachusetts released the details of its plan to distribute the final bin of federal fishery disaster aid. Funds will be made available for Massachusetts fishermen with federal permits who landed at least 10,000 pounds in a season between 2012 and 2014 or who had an observer on board during one groundfish trip in 2014. Officials hope this plan will make funds available to more fishermen throughout the state. The full amount available in the third bin is $6.9 million.

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