In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, August 12

Blue mussels and other bivalves use protein-based fibers called byssal threads to hold onto substrate. Image via nsf.gov

  • The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council approved a new guidance document for transitioning from single-species management to an “ecosystem approach to fisheries management,” referred to as EAFM. The Council describes it as “an umbrella document that will enable to Council to coordinate ecosystem considerations across fishery management plans.” The policy will be able to evolve as new science becomes available.
  • The Baker Administration launched a new Seafood Marketing Program to promote locally and sustainably-harvested Massachusetts seafood. The program will be managed by the Division of Marine Fisheries; legislators, agency heads, and industry members will sit on the steering committee.
  • The Marine Stewardship Council is launching its’ “Good Catch!” campaign in New England to educate consumers about sustainable seafood choices. New research shows that 58 percent of New Englanders are more likely to purchase fresh seafood, compared to 40 percent of people nationally. The knowledge of sustainable seafood options, however, is still low, and MSC hopes that their campaign can help change this.
  • A federal court upheld the rule that NMFS can require co-op seafood processors to pay a tonnage fee. The court did say, however, that the fee amount should be recalculated. The fee is a contribution towards fisheries management, scientific research, and education.
  • New science from the University of California shows that blue mussel populations have declined more than 60 percent along the Gulf of Maine coast. The mussels currently only cover less than 15 percent of the intertidal zone, where a community restructuring is coinciding with the blue mussel decline, according to the study. Scientists believe that ocean warming and increased human harvesting are contributing to the decline.
  • The Island Institute released its new study, “A Spatial Characterization of the Lobster Fishery for the New England Regional Planning Body.” The goal of the study is to improve federal agency interaction with fishermen “by providing important contextual information about the fishery and outlining some common concerns that fisheries have when they are facing changing ocean uses.”
  • UMass Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology is partnering with the Republic of Iceland to advance marine biotech research and minimize fish waste. A UMass Dartmouth spokesperson said that the partnership will likely focus on biofuels.
  • The presentations and audio files from the ASMFC’s 2016 summer meeting are now available online. The meeting took place last week in Alexandria, VA.
  • NOAA Fisheries established new marine mammal bycatch requirements for U.S. seafood imports under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The new requirements set procedures for nations to minimize bycatch if they wish to send seafood to the United States. The rule is effective January 1, 2017.
  • An op-ed in the Hartford Courant by a Norwalk recreational fishermen expresses support for the Connecticut delegation’s proposal to designate the New England Coral Canyons and Seamounts as a marine national monument. He says, “As anglers, we need healthy ecosystems and abundant marine life to be successful, and the protection of the phenomenally biologically rich canyons and seamounts is essential for the continued success of our fisheries.”

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