In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, June 10

Scientists have trained archerfish (Toxotes chatareus) to recognize human faces. Image via WikiCommons.

  • The Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commission has begun discussions on reopening Maine’s shrimp fishery, which has been closed since the end of the 2013 season. Fishery managers are discussing new regulations such as state-by-state quotas, reporting methodology, and gear specifications. There are also discussions about potential challenges such as overfishing and climate change.
  • The Gulf of Maine Research Institute has launched a new video series featuring their local partners, Voices of the Gulf of Maine. The first video in the series highlights a local Maine lobsterman who discusses his participation GMRI research projects.
  • A scientist is using fish, in particular archerfish, to study facial recognition. The fish have proven to be able to recognize human faces, and the scientists hope that they can use their data to better understand how humans learn facial recognition.
  • A Bangor Daily News story highlighted the return of river herring and shad to Maine rivers following the removal of dams. This year, 1,772 shad and 1,194,577 river herring have been counted at the Milford Dam on the Penobscot River, and the numbers are only increasing. Atlantic salmon are also using the rivers in greater numbers. These fish serve as an important food source for other land and water species as well as attract recreational fishing.
  • South shore lobstermen hope to gain limited access to a closed area by modifying their lines. A 3,000 sq. nautical mile area is closed from February 1 to April 30 to prevent whale entanglement, but lobstermen have created a “sleeve” to wrap around lines that they believe will reduce entanglements. The system is based on research from the New England Aquarium and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. The president of the South Shore Lobster Fisherman’s Association plans to file for an exemption request soon.
  • 30 nations around the world ratified the UN Agreement on Port State Measures, and now the first legally-binding international agreement to stop IUU fishing will go into effect. Fishing vessels landing in ports of those 30 nations will have to provide detailed account of their activities and catch, and participating nations are required to inspect suspicious vessels or deny access to port.
  • Governor LePage sent a letter to the European Commission’s Director General of the Environment criticizing the proposed EU ban on American lobster imports. He states that there is “inadequate scientific basis” for the ban and emphasizes the importance of lobster to Maine’s economy.
  • NOAA Fisheries issued a public notice that the witch flounder common pool fishery caught 90 percent of its Trimester 1 quota. Due to this, the Trimester Total Allowable Catch Area is closed to “Northeast multispecies common pool vessels with trawl gear” until August 31.
  • Richard A. Pandolfo, a senior executive for the Gloucester-based company National Fish & Seafood, was indicted on four counts of tax fraud. Pandolfo’s predecessor stepped down several months ago after being indicted for “conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government by failing to pay taxes.”

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