In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, November 4

Sea scallop with 100 eyes at Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Photo Credit: Dann Blackwood, USGS

  • New England groundfishermen filed a notice of appeal in the lawsuit challenging the requirement that fishermen pay for the cost of at-sea monitoring. A federal district court ruled against the fishermen in July, so the case would now move to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston.
  • NOAA Fisheries finalized Amendment 19 to the Atlantic Scallop Fishery Management Plan, which was submitted by the New England Fishery Management Council. The Amendment changes the start of the fishing year from March 1 to April 1, starting in 2018. It also creates a new process for setting catch limits. The federal register notice said, “These changes will help reduce potential economic and biological consequences from late implementation of specifications and reduce the overall administrative burden associated with late implementation.”
  • All shellfish areas on Martha’s Vineyard were reopened on Monday, October 31. The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries said that toxin levels have declined to a safe level. A bloom of the diatom Pseudo-nitzchia had originally led to harmful concentrations of the toxin domoic acid, which causes amnesic shellfish poisoning.
  • The shellfish harvesting ban in Wellfleet Harbor has been extended through at least November 17 due to the norovirus outbreak, the cause of which is still unclear. Harvesting areas have been closed since October 13. Shellfishermen are worried about the impact of the closure on their businesses and fear a drop in prices when harvest areas do reopen.
  • The scallop season off of Nantucket started slow this week. As reported by The Inquirer and Mirror, “Early reports from scallopers indicate the shellfish are scarce and it’s taking until late morning or later to fulfill their daily bushel limits.” Scallops were selling for $16 per pound at the dock, and over $20 per pound on the market.
  • The Mystic River Watershed Association has launched a new education program that seeks to connect students to river herring migration. The program will live stream video from the Upper Mystic Lake Dam in Medford and the fish ladder in Winchester Center so that students can watch the fish migration and help count fish.
  • There was a recent large die-off of Atlantic saury, also known as needlefish, along the beach in Brewster, MA. Experts say it is part of the fish’s natural cycle this time of year, and it’s unlikely that it’s the effects of pollution or something unnatural. Officials will not remove the fish but rather leave them for seagulls and crabs to eat.
  • 200 scientists and students convened at the New Bedford Whaling Museum this week to discuss strategies to save North Atlantic right whales. Right whale populations, estimated to be 490 individuals, declined this year for the first time in 15 years. Entanglement in fishing gear is the leading threat and cause of death to right whales in the region. Scientists also expect that the whales are migrating due to climate change and they perhaps have not found them yet.
  • Two men were charged with theft for stealing lobsters from Quahog Lobster in Harpswell, Maine. One of the men is also being charged for stealing lobsters from Maggie’s Seafood in South Bristol. The men were charged after a month-long investigation by the Maine Marine Patrol. They allegedly stole 19 crates of lobsters, an estimated value of $9,000, between late-September and mid-October.

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