In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Tuesday, August 9

The porbeagle shark will not be listed under the Endangered Species Act at this time. Image via NOAA.

  • For the first time ever, Maine has closed its menhaden fishery (also known as pogies) due to increased demand from the lobster industry. Lobstermen have been using pogies as bait since Atlantic herring, the primary bait species, has been in short supply. The state may be able to reopen the fishery under an “episodic event” quota, but the Department of Marine Resources must review all landing data first.
  • The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council passed an amendment protecting over 50 unmanaged forage fish species, acknowledging their importance to the overall ocean ecosystem. Fishermen will now need scientific evidence that harvest of these species will not harm the larger ecosystem. Joseph Gordon from The Pew Charitable Trusts told the Virginian-Pilot that this is “a huge leap forward in fishery management.”
  • After a 12-month review, NOAA Fisheries determined that porbeagle sharks do not warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act at this time. The decision applies to both the North Atlantic and Southern Hemisphere populations. The agency determined that neither population, nor the species itself, is in danger of extinction or likely to be so in the foreseeable future.
  • ASMFC voted to develop a Draft Addendum to Amendment 3 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for American Lobster. The draft addendum will include management measures as an initial response to the depleted southern New England stock “while preserving a functional portion of the lobster fishery in the area.” The measures, such as lobster size harvest changes, will aim to increase egg production by 60%.
  • NEFMC will live stream its Scientific and Statistical Committee meeting tomorrow, August 10th, via webinar. At the meeting, hosted in Boston, SSC members will develop overfishing levels and acceptable biological catch recommendations for Georges Bank yellowtail flounder, monkfish, and red crab. The public is invited to join.
  • NOAA Fisheries recently issued a new Fisheries Allocation Review Policy. The policy provides guidance on how harvest should be divided among commercial, recreational, and subsistence fishermen. The policy was created jointly by the NMFS, who was responsible for deciding what factors should be considered, and the Council Coordination Committee, who was responsible for deciding when to make decisions.
  • The Northeast Fisheries Science Center, together with NEFMC, announced that it will be accepting proposals for the 2017-2018 Atlantic Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside Program until October 7, 2016. Proceeds from the sale of the scallops “set-aside” will be used to fund research activities.
  • NOAA Fisheries released a guidance document on how to “help predict how human-made underwater sounds affect marine mammal hearing.” The agency will use the guidance to inform their assessments and authorizations of activities and welcomes other agencies, industries, and applicants to refer to the guidance as well.

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