In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Tuesday, December 22

Atlantic cod are considered a "choke species" in the Gulf of Maine. Photo credit: Dieter Craasman.

  • A first round of research from the New England Aquarium and affiliated organizations found a discard mortality rate of 9 to 21 percent for Gulf of Maine cod. Researchers also studied haddock and cusk mortality, but that data for those species is not yet finalized. Fishery managers typically use a 30 percent mortality rate for Gulf of Maine cod when determining catch limits for the fishery. The Associated Press says this new data may help change quotas, particularly for recreational fishermen.
  • Members of Congress included in the omnibus federal spending bill a provision that restricts the sale of genetically modified salmon until labeling guidelines are developed. The passage is directed at the recently FDA-approved AquAdvantage salmon. Prior to approval, the FDA said that it would only require labeling identifying the product as GMO if “there is a material difference,” but the FDA concluded there was none.
  • Citing a Bloomberg Business study that named fishing as the deadliest country in the U.S., Massachusetts congressional delegates and Governor Baker sent a letter to President Obama urging him to include in the 2017 budget “long-need funding for the Fishing Safety Training Grants Program and Fishing Safety Research Grant Program.” The letter says that only 10 percent of fishermen in New England have had proper safety training.
  • ASMFC and Maine DMR are searching for fishermen to participate in a Northern shrimp sampling program. Although the fishery is closed for the third consecutive season, regulators need four trawling vessels and two trappers to collect data on the dwindling populations.
  • A recent “Green Plate Special” in the Portland Press Herald describes the oyster aquaculture industry in Maine. According to Maine Sea Grant and UMaine scientist Dana Morse quoted in the article, pollution or warming waters have destroyed over 80 percent of global wild oyster beds, so most oysters eaten in Maine come from farms. Maine’s currently has 60 oyster farms that occupy 1,370 acres. However, Morse says that these farms may actually be helping the wild populations may come back.

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