In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, March 25

Image via NOAA.

  • Environmentalists and fishermen have both expressed concern over NOAA’s proposed changes to the Northeast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan, but for different reasons. Fishermen are worried that the quota cuts, particularly the 60 percent reduction for Georges Bank cod, will make for a difficult year. Environmentalists are criticizing the proposed changes for the reduced monitoring coverage on groundfish vessels from 24 to 14 percent.
  • U.S. Senators from New England, as well as one from Washington State, sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Homeland Security (Senate Appropriations Committee) urging that the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill for 2017 provide funding for the Fishing Safety Training Grant Program and the Fishing Safety Research Grant Program. As the Senators describe in their letter, new safety requirements for fishermen who operate beyond three nautical miles offshore were implemented in 2015, largely increasing the number of fishermen who are required to complete a safety and training program. The Senators do not want the cost of the training to fall on the fishermen.
  • One proposed adjustment to the at-sea monitoring program is a monitoring exemption for extra-large mesh gillnet trips, which many Cape Cod fishermen who fish for dogfish and skates see as a benefit. Fisheries campaign manager for Oceana Gib Brogran criticized the reduced coverage but also told Cape Cod Times that “the large mesh exemption for the Cape fleet demonstrates that having quality data from observed trips could also benefit fishermen.”
  • A recent blog post by Carl Safina in National Geographic’s Voices speaks to the benefits of community-supported fisheries. He says, “Sustainability is a key goal of CSFs, in both the ecological and economic sense.”
  • An updated forecast from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute says the likelihood of an extremely early start to Maine’s lobster season is 68 percent. The traditional start of the lobster season is the first week of July, but an extremely early start could mean that lobsters are ready to harvest a month or more before then.
  • The Maine Legislature is considering a $3 million bond proposal that would help the state better understand and fight ocean acidification. The money would be used to “collect data, monitor waterways, and test ocean acidity along the Maine coast.”

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