In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, January 29

A right whale trailing fishing gear. Image via NOAA.

  • Judge Joseph Laplante of the U.S. District Court in Concord, NH denied New Hampshire fisherman David Goethel’s motion to block the shift of at-sea monitoring costs to fishermen. The judge ruled that Mr. Goethel’s claims are “barred by the Magnuson-Stevens Act.”
  • The Northeast groundfish fishery was declared a disaster in 2012. The state of Maine received its final disaster aid money last fall, and in a recent editorial, the Bangor Daily News opines that the money should be given to those fishermen that still belong to sectors but can no longer afford to fish, rather than to those still out on the water. The sectors can then choose how to best use the money, be it to fund at-sea monitoring or to buy up available groundfish permits. The editorial says that this is an opportunity for the fishery to transform and survive.
  • NOAA Fisheries updated and expanded the critical habitat for endangered North Atlantic right whales to cover the entire Gulf of Maine and part of Georges Bank, which are feeding areas for the species. The critical habitat also covers calving grounds along the coast from North Carolina to Florida. To determine the boundaries, scientists used 35 years of aerial and ship surveys and research into foraging behavior. The rule does not establish any new restrictions.
  • Gloucester, MA was selected by the White House’s Rural Council as one of 27 U.S. communities to participate in the Local Foods, Local Places The city will receive technical support and advice on how to develop a specific brand for their seafood. The initiative will include a variety of local food projects such as test kitchens, downtown food hubs, and outreach programs. Gloucester Economic Development Director Sal DiStefano compares it to a farm-to-table initiative, but instead it’s “sea-to-table or dock-to-dish.”
  • There is some opposition to a Maine bill that seeks to improve the state’s lobster licensing process. The bill, headed to the Legislature’s Marine Resources Committee on February 10th, would increase the age that someone can be put on a waiting list to 23 years old and would require all seven lobster zones to issue licenses based on the number of retired licenses annually. Currently, the southern zones issue licenses based on the number of traps retired annually. Critics of the bill do not disagree that the system is broken, but say that it undermines the authority of the lobster zones.
  • The Massachusetts Senate approved a bill that allows the processing and sale of on-shell lobster claw. The bill updates a 1997 law that was originally intended to prevent claws of undersized lobsters being removed at sea. The bill now moves to the House for approval.
  • A new study reports that the water temperatures in Buzzards Bay increased four degrees from 1992 to 2013. This coincided with an increase in algae growth over the past two decades, causing a decline in water quality.
  • The United States Senate voted 50-49 against a measure that said that human activity significantly contributes to climate change. The measure required 60 votes to pass. The Senate, however, did vote in favor of a separate measure that said climate change is real.


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