In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Tuesday, February 23

Menhaden swimming through water. Photo credit: Gene Helfman (via The Pew Charitable Trusts).

  • New science reports that the ocean is rising at the fastest rate in the last 2,800 years, and a sharp increase has occurred over the last 100 years. Scientists attribute the rise to increased emissions from burning fossil fuels. As the New York Times reports, increased flooding due to sea level rise is already impacting coastal communities.
  • NOAA released its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Report to Congress last week. The report detailed NOAA’s “progress in preventing and reducing bycatch through research on technology innovation and fishing practice solutions.” One project highlighted in the report is NOAA’s work to reduce butterfish bycatch in the Northeast longfin squid fishery. Bycatch reduction is a part of NOAA’s sustainable fisheries management practice and “we’ve made great progress, but there is more to do,” said assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries Eileen Sobeck.
  • The Associated Press highlighted the proposed legislation in Maine that would extend the state’s elver season by one week, allow fishing on weekends, provide more gear-type flexibility, and update the quota system for American Indian tribes. The current season is limited to five days per week and is scheduled to run March 22 through May 31. A legislative committee has already approved the plan and the proposal now goes to the full Legislature.
  • A new study published in ICES Journal of Marine Science reported that, out of 16 factors, an oceanic climate cycle in the Atlantic is the most important driver of menhaden recruitment. It was determined that during warm phases south of Cape May, New Jersey recruitment is usually lower than average, but north of Cape May recruitment is usually higher than average. The exact cause of this remains unclear.
  • A group of NGOs have taken up the task of creating Maine’s Ocean Acidification Council after a legislative panel voted against the creation last month. The panel thought “the proposal wasn’t politically viable.”
  • Members of the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation and the Department of Environmental Management announced new federal funding for the states fishermen. NOAA has released $705,658 as part of a $75 million disaster aid funding package. The state will put the funds towards a recruitment and training program for their commercial fishing industry.

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