In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, September 11

Photo Credit: Brian Sk.

  • Lobstermen can wait as long as a decade to receive a new lobstering license in Maine. In eastern Maine, new licenses are issued depending on how many are turned in each year, and in western Maine, it depends on the number of trap tags surrendered. Some communities want to opt out of the limited entry program. The Maine Department of Resources (DMR) is developing plan to address the long wait period and is hoping to work with Legislature on the issue.
  • The Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Commission unanimously appointed David Pierce as Director of the Division of Marine Fisheries. Pierce had been serving as interim director since April 25 and is now the third full-time director of DMF. Pierce has worked at DMF since 1972.
  • NOAA Fisheries issued two reports comparing the costs of electronic monitoring and at-sea monitors for Northeast groundfish and Atlantic herring/mackerel fisheries. The costs are hypothetical. The reports found that the cost-efficiency of various monitoring techniques differed between cases and fisheries.
  • With the help of a two year government grant, the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance (CCCFA) launched a dogfish, or “cape shark,” marketing campaign. Dogfish are abundant in New England waters, but fishermen still only receive about 18-22 cents per pound. CCCFA wants to increase local demand for cape shark and has been successful in selling cape shark to some local restaurants and stores.
  • What’s believed to be the oldest commercial shellfish hatchery in the U.S. is getting a much needed rebuild. The Aquaculture Research Corporation in Dennis, MA was on the verge of closing down when a public-private partnership was able to strike a $6 million deal to save the business. State Senator for Cape Cod Dan Wolf told WBUR that shellfish are an important part of Cape Cod’s wastewater mitigation and sustainable fishery plans. Read more here.
  • Maine DMR is considering new rules for the 2015-2016 scallop season and a possible closed area for the sea urchin fishery. DMR will hold three scallop public hearings and one sea urchin public hearing. The hearings will take place next week September 15-17.
  • Attorney General Maury Healey certified 22 proposed ballot initiatives last week. One of these is the Whale Safe Fishing Act. The proposed act would ban any commercial fishing gear that is capable of entangling whales or sea turtles.
  • Herring populations crashed after the Exxon Valdez spill, and in a new study published this week NOAA scientists determined that exposure to very small levels of oil could be the cause. Oil exposure led to smaller hearts, poor growth, and slower swimmers. These negative effects made fish much more vulnerable to predators.
  • At a meeting last week, the MA Division of Marine Fisheries proposed a new plan for distributing the $6.7 million in federal fisheries disaster money to a wider group of fishermen. The new plan requirements set a lower bar of 10,000 pounds of groundfish landings in any year from 2012 to 2014 or one trip in 2014 with an observer. At least 164 vessels qualify for aid under these scenarios, according to DMF.
  • The U.S. Senate recently declared September 25 as National Lobster Day to honor the lobster’s importance to our nation’s culture and economy. Maine Senators King and Collins proposed the new holiday earlier this summer. U.S. Lobstermen catch more than 120 million pounds of lobster each year.
  • Zeke Grader, a renowned advocate for fishermen and sustainable seafood, died Monday of pancreatic cancer. He was 68. You can read more about Zeke and his legacy here.

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