In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Tuesday, December 8

Northern shrimp is historically a favorite winter seafood choice in New England, but the fishery has been closed since 2013. Image via NEFSC/NOAA.

  • ASMFC voted Monday to continue the moratorium on the northern shrimp fishery in the Gulf of Maine for the third consecutive year. Fishery regulators first voted to close the fishery in December 2013 due to historic low populations, which have still yet to recover. Warming ocean temperatures are considered to be the main cause of collapse.
  • In addition to cod quota changes last week, NEFMC voted to more than double the commercial haddock quota from 958 to 2,416 metric tons, and the ACL for pollock was also increased by 30 percent. The Council also voted to decrease ACLs for Cape Cod and Gulf of Maine yellowtail flounder, redfish, and white hake.
  • The Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES) is a new initiative by the Marine Conservation Institute that seeks to create a global network of marine protected areas. In an opinion piece featured on cnn.com, President of MCI Lance Morgan details the importance of protecting the oceans under the threat of climate change and the need to protect “the biggest single life support system on the planet” for future generations. The way to accomplish that is through strongly protected marine areas/no-take reserves.
  • World leaders have made encouraging first draft agreements at the Paris Climate Talks that would benefit New England. The agreement to keep average global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will help limit the effects of extreme storm events, sea level rise, and ocean acidification, said CLF President Bradley Campbell.
  • Scientists have long known that the Sargasso Sea is a breeding ground for American eels, but only recently did they track an adult eel to the location. Using miniaturized satellite tags, researchers from Laval University in Quebec were able to track 28 eels, one of which bee-lined the 1,500 miles journey from Nova Scotia to the Sargasso Sea in 45 days. American eels are listed as endangered by the IUCN, so understanding their full life cycles is important for conservation measures, especially under the threat of climate change.
  • Maine river herring populations are recovering, while southern New England populations dwindle, says scientists from numerous institutions. Maine alewife and blueback herring populations suffered a decline in the early 2000s, but researchers found that Maine’s population “hasn’t decline nearly as sharply as populations in Southern New England and New York.”
  • Funded through an Icelandic company, the Downeast Salmon Federation is working to restore depleted populations of Atlantic salmon in the East Machias River. The project focuses on hatching and raising baby fish in incubation boxes that mimic the natural environment, and then introducing the one year old parr to the wild. As of right now, success is uncertain.
  • Seaweed may be “Maine’s crop to watch,” according to an article in the Portland Press Herald. An organic seaweed farming company, Maine Fresh Sea Farms, is trying to harvest seaweed crops nine months out of the year, so they can sell it fresh.
  • As part of $4 million of federal funding, over $900,000 from NOAA will be directed towards New England coastal habitat restoration projects. One of these projects will be for dam removal in Exeter, NH to help fish habitats around Great Bay. A second project will restore tidal wetlands in Muddy Creek located in Harwich, MA.
  • New England states are hosting public meetings to gather comments on the Draft Amendment 3 to ASMFC’s Atlantic herring fishery management plan. Meetings will be hosted in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island starting in 2016.
  • NEFMC is in the middle of scoping hearings for Amendment 22 to the Northeast Small-Mesh Multispecies Fishery. A hearing was held in Portland, ME last week and another will be held tonight in Gloucester, MA. There will also be hearings in New Bedford, MA, Montauck, NY, and online via webinar.

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