In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, April 22

Georges Bank winter flounder was one species added to the overfishing and overfished lists in the 2015 Status of the Stocks report. Image via NEFSC.

  • NOAA released its 2015 Status of the Stocks report this week, which revealed little improvement from 2014. Eight stocks were removed from the overfishing list, but ten were added; two stocks were removed from the overfished list, but three were added. The Gloucester Daily Times reported on the New England perspective of the report, noting that Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic yellowtail flounder and Georges Bank winter flounder were two of the stocks added to the overfishing and overfished lists. Three New England stocks were included in the ones removed from the overfishing list.
  • Maine’s U.S. Congressional delegation sent a letter to the U.S. FDA Commissioner urging the FDA to develop a plan that would allow all states to export shellfish to European Union member countries. The delegates expressed concern that Maine was left out of the FDA’s “equivalency determination process,” which ensures that trade standards for shellfish products are met.
  • A lobster veterinarian, Jean Lavallée led a series of workshops this week discussing the proper handling of harvested lobsters. Mr. Lavallée reported that 10 percent of U.S. lobsters die on their way to market. In Maine, that equates to a loss of up to $61.7 million in Maine. He recommends a “one hand, one lobster” approach, more gentler handling of traps, and storage practices that reduce stress.
  • The Associated Press reported that the New England Fishery Management Council will likely make changes to scallop fishing management a priority in 2017. New rules have been a source of tension in the fishery, but the council hopes to have measures in place by 2018.
  • The U.S. State Department responded to the Maine delegation’s concern over Sweden’s proposed EU ban on live lobster. A letter to the delegation stated, “[the department] is actively working to ensure that the European Commission does not impede the legitimate trade of live lobsters, including those from Maine.”
  • In a study of the recreational rod and reel cod fishery, scientists found that more discarded cod (ones that do not meet size requirements) might survive that previously thought. In order to increase survival, the scientists recommended that anglers reel the fish in at a slower pace.
  • An opinion piece in the New York Times discusses how the Magnuson-Stevens Act improved our nation’s fisheries and set them on the road to sustainability. Sylvia Rowley talks about the science behind fisheries management, the development of catch share programs, and the importance of good managers. She uses New England’s Atlantic cod population as an example for the increased need of good fishery management in the face of warming oceans.


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