In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, December 9

The Northeast Ocean Data Portal hosts thousands of datasets, including information on commercial fishing.

  • The National Ocean Council approved the Northeast Ocean Plan and the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Action Plan as the first regional ocean plans in the nation. As reported by RI Public Radio, “The plans feature databases about the region’s marine life and habitats. They’ll inform how to plan commercial and recreational activities at sea, while protecting those resources.” The plans do not create any new laws or regulations, but operate within existing state and federal regulations. Their development came from the collaboration of stakeholders from many ocean-related industries.
  • The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is seeking comment on its proposed menhaden management plan. A public information document about the plan was released last month. The plan will set catch limits for the species along the east coast. Environmental interests are pushing for a shift towards ecosystem-based management to better account for menhaden’s role as a forage fish. Public comments will be accepted through January 4, 2017.
  • Commercial fishing groups, including members of the New Bedford scallop industry, are suing the federal government in an effort to block the Long Island wind farm energy auction scheduled for next week, December 15. The 127 square-mile area is being auctioned off by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, but the fishing groups say the area is prime fishing grounds and that BOEM has not done the appropriate analysis to lease the area. A spokeswoman for BOEM, however, told South Coast Today, “We seriously did consider the fishing community’s input prior to making any decisions.” No construction will begin on the site as a result to a lease. Instead it allows developers to survey and gather data about the area.
  • Scientists studied the growth rings on quahog clam shells to better understand the relationship between oceanic conditions and climate change. They discovered that the relationship has reversed since industrialization. Pre-1800, changes in the ocean triggered changes in the atmosphere. Now the atmosphere and climate change cause by increased greenhouse gas emissions are driving changes in the ocean.
  • A leaked report from the World Wildlife Fund identifies a conflict of interest within the Marine Stewardship Council’s seafood certification system. MSC charges a licensing fee to companies that use the MSC logo, and WWF says that this limits “MSC’s role as an independent and impartial standard-setting body.” MSC certification has become trusted by consumers around the world with over 23,000 products in 100 countries possessing the MSC label.

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