In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, July 8

New England fishermen are harvesting more whelks as demand for the sea snail grows in Asia. Image via mass.gov

  • Fishery managers are concerned that fishermen will reach their Atlantic herring inshore summer quota before the peak of the lobster season; herring is the preferred bait for the lobster fishery. Maine’s Department of Marine Resources has tried to find the balance between restrictions now to be able to continue fishing later in the summer. The rules will be changed to allow herring fishermen to fish three days an week, landing fish on only two of those days. There will also be a weekly landing limit of 600,000 pounds per boat. Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher says the success of the new rules will depend on the industry.
  • The New England Fishery Management Council released its June/July Council Report. The newsletter discusses Framework Adjustment 28 to the Atlantic Scallop Plan, the industry-funded monitoring amendment, Amendment 8 to the Atlantic Herring Plan, and more.
  • Whelks are becoming a prized catch in New England due to growing demand in Asia. The sea snails, once ignored by fishermen, provide another type of catch for those in struggling industries such as lobster in Southern New England. In a live market, a whelk can be sold for around $7, depending on size. In Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the dockside value is estimated at $5.7 million and $1 million, respectively.
  • The United Nations has warned that global fish production is reaching its sustainable limit. It’s estimated that 90 percent of global fish stocks are overfished, but a 17 percent production increase is expected by 2025. Aquaculture production is expected to overtake wild-harvest by 2021.
  • Senators King and Collins, as well as other Senators from New England, introduced legislation to once again designate September 25th as National Lobster Day. The congressional members want to recognize the “historic and economic importance of lobster in the United States.”
  • As of July 4th, the Mid-Atlantic Scallop Limited Access Area for the individual fishing quota fleet is closed, announced NOAA last week. The agency predicted that the trip limit had been met and the area will remain closed until February 28, 2017.
  • The Baker Administration announced $1.1 million in funding to support renovations of Gloucester’s Jodrey State Pier. Governor Baker said that his administration supports blue jobs and that “[t]his commitment to Jodrey State Pier advances the long-term vitality of Gloucester’s commercial port and the future of our working fishermen and lobstermen.”
  • The Northeast Fisheries Science Center will host an outreach webinar about witch flounder on July 26, 2016 as a pre-meeting to the 62nd SAW Stock Assessment Review Committee meeting scheduled for this fall. Assessment scientists will be available to respond to questions and comments.
  • The Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean released its Draft Regional Ocean Action Plan for public review and comment. MARCO will host a webinar on Monday, July 11th to discuss the plan. The public comment period is open through September 6, 2016.
  • An orca named Old Thom was spotted by a charter boat about 13 miles northeast of Chatham, MA on Monday morning. The owner of the boat was able to photograph the whale, and New England Aquarium researchers confirmed that it was an orca. Old Thom is a 30-foot orca of unknown age who is known to be found in atypical waters.

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