In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Tuesday, March 22

Photo credit: Dieter Craasmann.

  • The Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office released for public comment Framework Adjustment 55 to the Northeast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan. Framework 55 proposes 2016-2018 catch limits for 20 groundfish species, adjusts the method for setting coverage levels, reduces at-sea monitoring of vessels from 24 percent to 14 percent for 2016, and creates a new sector. The proposed rule is open for public comment until April 5, 2016.
  • In response to Framework Adjustment 55, Oceana issued a press release criticizing the proposed reduction in at-sea monitoring levels, which “[leaves] 86 percent of fishing trips unobserved in the [groundfish] fishery.” Gib Brogan, Oceana’s fisheries campaign manager, said that rather than “helping fishermen move towards a more sustainable future, this proposed rule would instead weaken the chance of recovery for this historic fishery.”
  • GARFO announced the transfer of 8 mt of Georges Bank yellowtail flounder and 22 mt of southern New England/Mid-Atlantic yellowtail flounder to the groundfish industry. GARFO has the authority to transfer quota through a temporary rule if the scallop fishery “is expected to catch less than 90 percent of its…yellowtail flounder allocation.”
  • Sweden proposed a petition to the European Union that would label Maine lobster as an “invasive species” and ban live lobster exports from Maine to Europe. Over the last eight years, at least 30 Maine lobsters have been found in Sweden’s waters, claimed Sweden. Maine exports lobsters to 28 European countries, earning $134 million. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree called the petition “a complete overreaction.”
  • The Fishing Partnership Support Services, working with Harvard University School of Public Health and MIT, developed a five-chapter manual for how fishermen can prepare for and handle crises at sea. The organization will be distributing about 600 copies of the manual and it will also be available online for download.
  • The fourth electronic fish counter in Massachusetts was installed on the Herring River on Cape Cod last week. Nine other counters are privately managed. The technology will be used to track migrating fish populations such as river herring. Director of DMF’s anadromous fish program said, “Our goal is to get one high-tech counting station at every major [passage] area.”
  • Data shows that the Gulf of Maine may experience a repeat “ocean heat wave” this summer. Andrew Pershing of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute told the Portland Press Herald, “We’re pretty much locked in now to 2012-like conditions.” There were record high temperatures in 2012 that led to events such as an invasion of warm-water species and a lobster price collapse. A research scientist for the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences said an “ocean heat wave” is not guaranteed, but is likely.
  • Maine closed valuable scalloping grounds on Sunday including the Inner Machias Area, Wohoa/Western Bay, Gouldsboro/Dyer Bay, Upper Blue Hill Bay/Union River, the Inner Jericho Bay Area and Eggemoggin Reach/Southeast Harbor Rotational Area. Casco Bay will only be open to diving for scallops. Maine’s scallop season is scheduled to close next month.

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