In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, September 18

An American lobster. Image via EPA.

  • U.S. Senators Shaheen and Ayotte called for a full investigation of NOAA’s groundfish at-sea monitoring program in a letter sent yesterday to Department of Commerce Inspector General David Smith. The Senators emphasized the economic impact that monitoring payments would place on New England groundfish fishermen. They asked for answers to seven specific questions related to costs/fees, economic impact, legal basis, and options for fishermen.
  • In response to McDonald’s limited-time offer of the McLobster this summer, the New Yorker recently highlighted the Gulf of Maine lobster fishery and market. According to University of Maine researcher Robert Steneck, Gulf of Maine lobster populations have been especially dense, and executive director of Maine Lobster Dealers’ Association says it’s a very sustainable resource. As said in the article, lobster in the Gulf of Maine, however, still face some threats such as management keeping up with demand and sudden ecosystem shocks (i.e. disease). Although he isn’t eager to buy one, Steneck told the New Yorker that low cost lobster products, such as the McLobster, help to diversify the industry.
  • In response to the New Yorker, a Bangor Daily News blogger asks, “Can Maine lobster be too abundant?” As other fisheries are in decline, Maine’s lobster industry is in good shape. Too much of dependence on the resource, however, might not be bad. As BDN notes, “If anything were to happen to the lobster population, it would be catastrophic, because now such a disproportionate part of the economy relies on seafood.”
  • Maine Audubon completed its annual pelagic seabirding trip last weekend, which was a great success. Bob Duchesne, VP of Maine Audubon’s Penobscot Valley Chapter recalls the variety of birds spotted, such as skuas, northern gannets, great shearwaters, and red-necked phalaropes.
  • According to a new World Wildlife Fund report, marine species have declined nearly 50%  over the last forty years. The report is based on 5,829 populations of 1,234 ocean species. The report indicated several causes such as a decline in fish habitats, pollution, and climate change; in hopes of recovery, the report highlighted the importance of habitat protection, fisheries management, and sustainable fishing practices.

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