In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, June 24

The U.S. Congress introduced the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016. Image via www.wlf.louisiana.gov

  • It was announced this week that NOAA will reimburse an estimated 85 percent of New England’s remaining at-sea monitor costs for 2016. The agency will launch a reimbursement program in coordination with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission on July 1 using extra funds from the 2015 fiscal year. Sam Rauch, NOAA deputy assistant administrator for regulatory programs emphasized that 85 percent is only an estimate and that “everyone needs to understand the level of coverage is uncertain.”
  • Carlos Rafael’s trial has been scheduled to begin on January 9, 2017. The fishing magnate has been indicted on 27 counts of conspiracy, false entries, and bulk cash smuggling. There will be a pre-trial conference on December 12, 2016.
  • A scientific forum for the EU met this week and ordered Sweden to update its scientific justification for labeling American lobster as an invasive species. Sweden has until July 31 to address opposition raised by U.S. and Canadian scientists. The forum will then reconsider Sweden’s proposal by August 31.
  • Lobsters in a small section of the Penobscot Bay recently tested positive for elevated mercury levels, prompting the Maine Department of Marine Resources to expand an existing no-fishing zone. The original 7 square mile no-fishing zone was closed in 2014 after elevated mercury detection, and it will now extend south by another 5.5 square miles. The recommended mercury threshold used by Maine DMR is 200-nanograms per gram of tissue; the average amount detected in lobsters in 2014 was 292.7 nanograms.
  • NOAA Fisheries released its Draft Northeast Climate Science Action Plan for public comment. The plan will “help guide [NOAA’s] approach to increase the production, delivery, and use of climate-related information and to reduce impacts and increase resilience of fish stocks, fishing-dependent communities, and protected species.” The agency is accepting comments through July 29, 2016.
  • NOAA Fisheries announced that it will post Atlantic herring catch reports for management area 1A twice a week. The reports will be available on Tuesdays and Fridays. The agency also said that it will increase reporting for other management areas “as the fishery ramps up.”
  • Members of Congress, joined by Oceana representatives and Oceana advocate Morgan Freeman, introduced the bipartisan Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016 Shark finning is already illegal in U.S. waters; this bill would place a nationwide ban on shark fin trading. There is a noted discrepancy between reports on U.S. imports and exports of shark fins by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and NOAA.

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