In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, August 26

President Obama creates the world's largest protected area. Image via NOAA.

  • Puffins on Machias Seal Island are experiencing the worst breeding season on record. This summer, only 12 percent of nests produced chicks that fledged; that number is 60 percent in a typical year. Scientists studying the colony believe that there has been a lack of food for the chicks.
  • Experiments conducted in Sweden and Norway found that ocean acidification could double the mortality of cod larvae. The studies used fertilized eggs collected from the Baltic Sea and Barents Sea.
  • Swedish scientists have admitted that the scientific case to ban American lobster from the EU is thin. However, they are still arguing for a ban as a precautionary measure to eliminate potential threat to their native lobster population. The scientists’ report shows that the American and native lobsters have mated, but it is unknown if the hybrids are capable of reproduction. An EU committee is expected to make a ruling on August 31st.
  • NOAA Fisheries announced the seasonal spawning closure for the Eastern Maine inshore Gulf of Maine Atlantic herring fishery. The closure will being at 12:00am on August 28th and will remain in effect through September 24th.
  • Following the Maine lobster fishery’s model, State Representative Lydia Blume “is proposing new legislation to require license holders in the scallop and urchin fisheries to own and operate their own vessels.” She says this system is one reason why the lobster fishery is sustainable and that it will benefit fishermen economically. The Maine Legislature will consider the bill in January 2017.
  • Research by Sarah Bayer, a PhD candidate at the University of Maine, shows that population size affects scallop fertilization success. Larger populations with larger population density appear to have greater success. Bayer hopes this research can be used to create effective management policy.
  • Local Maine communities voted to close Maine’s last “open” lobster zone and implement a waiting list system for newcomers interested in lobstering in the area. Only one of the nine districts within the zone voted against the referendum. The decision now goes to a local lobster council on September 8th and then the Department of Marine Resources for final approval.
  • NOAA Fisheries partially approved Framework Adjustment 9 to the Monkfish Management Plan, effective August 26, 2016. The new rule is an effort to increase allowable landings by eliminating possession limits for some vessels in the Northern fishery management area and allowing vessels in the southern fishery management area to use smaller mesh gillnets.
  • The 20th Annual Fisherman’s Memorial Service will take place this Saturday in Gloucester, MA. The ceremony is a celebration of the lives of Gloucester fishermen lost at sea. Captain Linda Greenlaw, known from “The Perfect Storm,” will speak at this year’s ceremony.
  • President Obama more than quadrupled the size of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in Hawaii, making it the largest protected area on Earth. The protected area, originally established by President George W. Bush, now encompasses 582,578 square miles. Commercial extractive activities will be banned in the monument area, but recreational fishing, cultural activities, and scientific research will be allowed via federal permit. The announcement precedes the IUCN World Conservation Congress being hosted in Honolulu next week.


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