In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Tuesday, December 20

Fragile, slow-growing deep-sea corals provide habitat for an array of marine life, such as this squat lobster. Image via NOAA.

  • The New England Fishery Management Council approved its 2017 management priorities, which were decided upon at the November Council meeting. Setting annual catch limits remains the Council’s top priority, but it will also address items concerning sea scallops, groundfish, recreational fishing, barndoor skates, habitat, Atlantic herring, whiting, skates, and ecosystem-based fishery management.
  • The New England Fishery Management Council is requesting comments on Amendment 18 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. Amendment 18 is intended to “prevent excessive consolidation in the groundfish fishery, promote fleet diversity, and enhance sector management.” Comments are due February 6, 2017.
  • NOAA Fisheries released its Northeast Regional Climate Action Plan, one of five regional action plans in the country. The Northeast Plan covers waters from Maine to North Carolina and “from the headwaters of watersheds to the deep ocean.” As stated in NEFSC press release, the plan is “intended to better position people in the Northeast to deal with what happens to valuable marine life as waters warm.” The plan identifies fifteen actions for doing so.
  • Some conservationists have expressed concern over the National Marine Fisheries Service’s plan to protect dusky sharks, saying they are not strict enough. Dusky shark populations on the east coast and Gulf of Mexico are 20 percent of what they were in 1970 due to the impacts of commercial fishing. The government’s plan focuses on the swordfish and tuna fisheries, but Oceana’s campaign director says that dusky sharks are caught in other fisheries as well.
  • Both the Gulf of Maine lobster fishery and the Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog fishery achieved Marine Stewardship Council certification. The certification of the lobster fishery applies to vessels fishing in ASMFC lobster management area 1 and selling lobster to the Maine Certifies Sustainable Lobster Association. This is the first clam industry to receive MSC certification in the US.
  • NOAA finalized the rule protecting around 38,000 square miles of federals waters in the Mid-Atlantic, below 1,470 feet, from destructive fishing gear. Fragile deep-sea corals are known to be in this area, now named the Frank R. Lautenberg Deep Sea Coral Protection Area. The decision has been praised by both conservation groups and fishing industry members.

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