In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, February 26

The Atlantic sea scallop fishery is one of the most valuable in the country. Image via NOAA.

  • NOAA’s federal funding allocated to at-sea monitoring of New England’s groundfish industry officially ran out on February 16th. NOAA suspended all monitoring requirements in the fishery until March 1st, when the industry will take over costs. According to the Gloucester Daily Times, NOAA did not publicly release the details of the suspension but filed them for the record as part of the New Hampshire federal lawsuit.
  • The owner of one of the largest commercial fishing businesses in New England, Carlos Rafael, and his bookkeeper, Debra Messier, were arrested for conspiracy and submitting falsified records. Rafael, owner of Carlos Seafood Inc. in New Bedford, “allegedly lied to federal authorities about the quantity and species of fish his boats caught, in order to evade federal [fishing] quotas.” The two are scheduled to appear in court today.
  • NOAA released its draft National Bycatch Reduction Strategy, which is available for public comment. The strategy addresses bycatch monitoring, research, management, program evaluation, enforcement, and communication both domestically and internationally.
  • NOAA also released a bycatch estimate update, providing statistics at the fishery and species level. According to the report, 2013 data showed bycatch estimates of “8,901 pounds in the New England purse seine fishery to 56.1 million pounds in the New England large mesh otter trawl fishery.”
  • NOAA is seeking public comment on proposed management measures for the Atlantic sea scallop fishery for the 2016 fishing season. The rule sets new catch limits, quotas, and days at sea for the fishery. It also creates a new rotational closed area and opens part of the Nantucket Lightship closed area to the limited access general category fleet.
  • Maine lawmakers and the lobster industry compromised on a bill to change Maine’s lobster licensing process. The Marine Resources Committee voted to increase the required age for completing an apprenticeship program and will take steps to assess the long license waiting list.
  • The Gloucester Fresh Seafood Innovation Program received $151,000 in state grants this week. The city will use the money to expand its seafood brand locally, regionally, and nationally, including two billboards and participation in the Seafood Expo North America.
  • A new study from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center found that “marine fishery species grouped by similar depth and temperature distribution…have similar responses to the effects of climate change.” The study used 1968-2012 bottom-trawl survey data of nearly 70 species across the Gulf of Maine, the Mid-Atlantic Bight, and Georges Bank.


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