In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Tuesday, December 29

New England needs fisheries laws to move modern ecosystem-based fisheries management forward. Photo credit: NMFS

  • A Boston Globe article last week discussed the changes occurring within the ocean ecosystem and the impacts on the fishing industry. The article says that rapid ocean warming and decades of overfishing have disrupted the balance of the ocean, which can be seen in depleted fish stocks such as Gulf of Maine cod. The article also comments that new fish species are coming to New England as a result of the warm water, but who has the “right” to fish these new arrivals is still a gray area. The author concludes with different steps that can be taken to help fishing communities adapt to the changing ocean environment, such as better scientific models, ecosystem-based management practices, and economic assistance.
  • The especially warm winter weather (so far) has extended the New England lobster season. As a result, many lobstermen have not transitioned to fishing for scallops as they normally would at this time of year. While the price of lobster is still typical for this time of year, about $8 to $10 per pound, scallop prices have increased slightly to the $25 per pound range. One Maine fishermen told the AP that “he expects scallop fishing in the southern part of the state to pick up in mid-January.”
  • NOAA may relocate the Northeast Fisheries Science Center outside of Woods Hole. The agency is completing a report that outlines various options for the current facility. The report should be completed by spring 2016.
  • The Maine Department of Marine Resources will use a $20,000 grant from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund to buy a 17-foot soft bottom inflatable boat. The inflatable boat will allow Maine Marine Patrol and DMR to respond to whale entanglements more safely and effectively.
  • American lobster has become a tradition during the European holiday season, but exports are down this year because of a strong U.S. dollar and a weak Euro. Exports to Spain have dropped over $20 million in value since 2007 and exports to Italy last year fell nearly a fifth. Exports to Asia, however, have grown and have helped to fill the gap.
  • 2015 was a big year for ocean conservation. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson of the Waitt Institute names the Top 15 Ocean Conservation Wins of 2015 including protection for over 2 million square kilometers of ocean, a crackdown on illegal fishing, sustainable fishing becoming a human rights issue, and a ban on plastic microbeads.
  • In his most recent post, Lee Crockett of the Pew Charitable Trusts discusses the history of the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), which is celebrating its 40th Anniversary next year. Magnuson-Stevens has helped to rebuild 39 fish populations since 2000, says Crockett, and he urges Congress to update the act with an ecosystem-based fisheries management approach. This includes using the best available science, considering the role of habitat and predator-prey relationships, as well as factoring in environmental changes.

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