In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, July 1

The Gulf of Maine is one of the fastest warming bodies of water on the planet. Image via USGS.

  • A recent AP story highlighted the effects of climate change and warming waters on New England’s fisheries and fishing industry. The Gulf of Maine is one of the fastest warming bodies of water in the world, which is impacting marine populations in the region such as cod, lobster, and clams. It is additionally complicating management. While some fishermen are holding on, the changing conditions have convinced others to retire or to fish for other species.
  • An op-ed from Maine lobsterman Richard Nelson discussed the benefits of the Northeast Regional Ocean Plan. He says he supports the plan because New Englanders will soon have to “make many tough decisions” as the oceans become busier everyday. He says the plan provides data that can help inform those decisions, although he acknowledges that there are gaps.
  • Carlos Rafael controls at least 36 commercial fishing vessels, one-fifth of the fleet in New Bedford. It’s estimated that his fleet and associated permits are worth around $80 million, and some are worried about the local economic impact if Rafael is convicted. New Bedford’s mayor told reporters that he has spoken with federal authorities about New Bedford maintaining Rafael’s permits and quota.
  • The court granted Carlos Rafael’s request to extend his curfew to 8:30pm, allowing him to work longer hours at the docks. The new curfew lets him work until sundown and attend to duties during the busy summer months. Rafael’s curfew will return to 7pm after September 30th.
  • Maine’s Seaweed Festival, a popular New England celebration near Casco Bay, was cancelled this year due to concerns over sustainability. There is a growing concern among some that Maine’s seaweed harvesting industry is unregulated and harvesting is not being done in a responsible and accountable way. Others disagree, but still acknowledge that it is definitely a growing industry.
  • The U.S. Commerce Department announced 2016 appointments to regional fishery management councils. In New England, Michael Sissenwine was re-elected to his Massachusetts seat and two new seats were filled, Mark Godfroy from New Hampshire and Richard Bellavance from Rhode Island.
  • Even though NOAA will reimburse a portion of the cost of New England’s at-sea monitors, fishermen say they will move forward with the lawsuit opposing the program in general. The fishermen who support the lawsuit believe they should not have to pay for any monitoring.
  • A group of universities and other organization collaborated on a research initiative studying the challenges and restoration efforts surrounding Maine’s coastal fisheries. The group produced a 24-page publication titled, “Recovery of Maine’s Coastal Fisheries,” which explores topics such as an over-reliance on lobster, successful restoration efforts of river herring, and Maine’s path forward.
  • In a first of its kind study, researchers studying Atlantic horseshoe crabs in New Hampshire’s Great Bay Estuary found that peaks in horseshoe crab spawning activity is correlated with water temperature increases. It was previously thought that spawning was related to the lunar cycle. Horseshoes are often used as bait in the American eel and conch fisheries, as well as in biomedical research.
  • Around 10 percent of the world – 845 million people – rely on fish for critical nutrients. Scientists have recently expressed concern that these people will be left severely malnourished if global fisheries continue to decline. Many around the world do not have other food options. According to the researchers, we could see positive health benefits with just a 10 percent recovery of fish populations.
  • Do you want to know where the great white sharks are swimming around New England? The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy produced “Sharktivity,” a new iPhone app available today that allows users to follow shark sightings. Those hoping to be “citizen scientists” can also report sightings and upload photos.

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