In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, March 4

Maine increased the age by which student lobstermen can complete an apprenticeship. Image via nsf.gov.

  • Carlos Rafael, who was arrested last week on conspiracy and falsification charges, was released on a $1 million bond. He will be allowed to continue working.
  • Maine lobstermen set a new catch record. Their total catch was valued at $495.4 million, which is $35 million more than the 2014 record.
  • The Gulf of Maine Research Institute has predicted that lobster catches will likely peak two to three weeks early this year. Warmer ocean temperatures in the Gulf of Maine cause the lobsters to molt and move inshore earlier. With early catches, there is a chance of disrupting the supply chain and dock prices falling.
  • Some Rhode Island lobstermen are contesting the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission report (August 2015) that said lobster stocks in Southern New England are at an all time low. Many lobstermen claim the report did not accurately assess the current state of the stock since it’s only based on data through 2013. This, however, is the best available data.
  • A Gloucester-based lobsterman, Joseph Sanfilippo, was fined $4,800 for counts of illegal lobstering, such as harvesting shorter-than-allowed lobsters, and false reporting. The terms of his fine were agreed upon through a plea deal, dismissing an additional 14 alleged counts of illegal harvesting.
  • 32 eligible Maine groundfishermen will soon receive federal disaster relief funding. This is the third and final payment that the state is issuing. Eligible fishermen landed over 5,000 pounds in one fishing year from 2010-2013 as well as during either the 2013 or 2014 fishing year. Individual funding will range between $9,100 and $44,044.
  • NOAA Fisheries is seeking public comment on fishing year 2016 recreational management measures for Gulf of Maine cod and haddock. The proposed measures would increase recreational catch limits for both species. Fishermen would be allowed one cod per day between August and September and 15 haddock per day for majority of the fishing year.
  • The Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee held a hearing this week titled, “The Impacts of Federal Fisheries Management on Small Business.” Senator Shaheen (D-NH), who is the lead Democrat on the committee, focused the hearing on the New England fishing industry. Two witnesses who testified were James Hayward, President of XI Northeast Fisheries Sector Inc., and Joshua Wiersma, Northeast Fisheries Manager for the Environmental Defense Fund.
  • Senator Murkowski (R-AK) introduced a labeling bill for genetically engineered salmon to the Senate on March 3. The bill would require that all genetically engineered salmon be indicated as such. A third party review of the FDA’s recent approval of the GE salmon would also be required by the bill.

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