In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Tuesday, February 9

Witch flounder, also known as grey sole, is one of the overfished stocks in New England. Image via NOAA.

  • The New England Fishery Management Council released its January/February 2016 Council Report. The report includes information on the recommended 460 mt ABC for witch flounder, steps the Council is taking to address concerns about at-sea monitoring, and Amendment 8 to the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan.
  • NOAA announced that it will modify how it implements observers on lobster vessels in the region. The program previously only included multi-species permit holders, but will now encompass all federally permitted lobster holders. Local congressional delegates, who sent a letter to NOAA on the issue last summer, as well as the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association are happy with the announcement.
  • The Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commission approved Amendment 3 to the interstate Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan. The Amendment combines previous amendments and management decisions regarding spawning closures, the fixed gear set-aside program, and an empty fish hold provision. The empty fish hold provision requires fish holds to be empty at the beginning of each trip to reduce waste and “encourage harvest based on market demand.”
  • The Providence Journal reported on rising water temperatures in Narragansett Bay. Surface temperatures in Narragansett Bay have increased up to 2.9 degrees Fahrenheit since 1960, and researchers can see the impact of these changes in the local ecosystem. A recent trawl study by URI caught a Gulf Stream flounder, a butterfish, and 48 menhaden – none of which should be in the Bay in January.
  • The Woods Hole Science and Technology Education Partnership is hosting a meeting tomorrow, February 10th on the topic of “Human Influence on Fisheries in New England: Then and Now.” Lecturers will discuss climate change in northeast waters and the New Bedford whaling industry.
  • According to a study by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the levels of toxic substances such as mercury and DDT in fish are lower than ever in the last forty years. Researchers gathered their data from 2,700 studies from around the world between 1969 and 2012. Mercury levels have dropped about 50 percent and PCB levels have dropped more than 90 percent. The researchers reported that this shows the positive effect of clean-water regulations, but also noted that many fish still contain harmful levels of pollutants.


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