In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Tuesday, July 26

Local chefs are trying to create a market for invasive green crabs. Image via maine.gov

  • As part of an experimental project, The Nature Conservancy has loaned to local fishermen “automatic jigging machines” for catching pollock. The Portland Press Herald describes them as “a contraption akin to conventional fishing reel on steroids and with an electronic brain.” The contraption targets pollock in the water column while avoiding cod on the bottom. It is a hope that the project will provide more fishing opportunities for small-boat fishermen.
  • Due to this season’s herring shortage, lobstermen are looking for bait alternatives. Frozen herring is an expensive option, but lobstermen are buying fresh redfish and frozen pogies, according to a local dealer. Some are even using cowhides.
  • NOAA recommended $9 million in funding for 17 coastal habitat restoration projects. The funds will be implemented through NOAA’s Community-based Restoration Program. Among the projects granted funding are four in Massachusetts and one in Maine.
  • Green crabs, native to Europe and Africa, have become invasive in New England, first arriving 200 years ago. They feed on many of the species that local fishermen catch, but now, fishermen are targeting green crabs and local restaurants are trying to create a market for them. Brendan Vesey, a New Hampshire chef, says that soup stock is the best option right now; he serves a green crab bisque as his restaurant in Newmarket.
  • Massachusetts Environmental Police fined five commercial fishermen from Cape Cod and one from Belchertown for “front loading” striped bass. Commercial harvest of striped bass is only allowed on Mondays and Thursdays. Front loading is catching striped bass “in advance of midnight on Mondays and Thursday and storing them on board…as if they’d caught them the next day.” The police confiscated 17 fish, worth about $2,400 and confiscated $3,000 worth of fishing gear.
  • The charges against Carlos Rafael’s bookkeeper Debra Messier have been dismissed, likely clearing her of any potential penalties. Messier had been arrested in February along with Rafael for conspiracy and submitting falsified records. Rafael’s trial has been set for January 2017.
  • While he awaits trial for fish fraud, Carlos Rafael’s wife recently purchased a new fishing vessel for the company Nemesis LLC. The mission of the company is “to engage in fishing and shellfishing of every nature and description.” The terms of Rafael’s indictment allow him to continue working.

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