In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, September 2

A North Atlantic right whale mother and calf. Photo by Brian Skerry.

  • Lobster prices in New England have reached their highest since 2005. The dockside price reached $8.50 for a 1 ¼ pound hard-shell lobster and $6 for a new-shell lobster. As reported by the Portland Press Herald, “Seafoodnews attributed the price spike in large part to growth in the number and productivity of lobster processors in Maine and Massachusetts.” Expanding markets and increased demand for the holiday weekend are also contributing factors.
  • A new study reveals that the number of baby North Atlantic right whales has declined by 40 percent since 2010 as a result of entanglement in fishing gear. When a whale is entangled, it cannot feed properly and cannot put on enough weight to carry a baby, according to Dr. Scott Kraus from the New England Aquarium. Entanglement is now the leading cause of death for the endangered whale species, accounting for 85 percent of deaths from 2010 to 2015.
  • The Connecticut Mirror published another story about the state’s changing fishing industry, focused on the quota system and climate change. As fish populations move, the quota system has not caught up with them, leaving Connecticut fishermen unable to catch the fish in their waters. You can read more here.
  • NOAA Fisheries announced adjustments to Northeast multispecies catch limits for the 2016 fishing year based on sector enrollment changes. Four vessels joined sectors since the May 1 limits became effective.
  • Harvesters and dealers in Maine’s sea urchin fishery will use a new swipe card system for the 2016-2017 season that will automate the required weekly reports. According to a Maine DMR press release, the new system “will create efficiencies for the industry and DMR staff, and will support efforts to restore and sustain this fishery.” A similar system has been used in the elver fishery.
  • Through its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program, NOAA Fisheries has awarded more than $2.4 million in support of research projects around the country. One project funding by BREP is focused on creating “an enhanced communication network and real-time maps to allow longfin squid fishermen to avoid butterfish ‘hot spots’ and reduce bycatch by 54 percent in the Northeast.”
  • Scientists at UC Davis are using “robot larvae” to study their distribution in the water column. The questions they want to answer are where do marine larvae go, how do they get there, and what allows them to do so? As reported by the UC Davis News Service, “The research carries implications for a range of issues including managing marine protected areas, fisheries, invasive species, and the impacts of climate change.”
  • Scientists in Norway use the genome sequence of more than 200 Atlantic cod to genetically determine the sex of the species. They found that the sex of the species could be linked to six different genes, but one gene was used for accurate prediction 100 percent of the time.

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