In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Tuesday, May 3

In the midst of a lobster bait shortage, synthetic bait presents an alternative for lobstermen. Photo credit: Brian Skerry/NEOO.

  • NOAA Fisheries approved a reduction in monitoring coverage for the New England groundfish fleet. For the 2016 fishing year, which started Sunday, monitors will only accompany fishermen on-board 14 percent of the time. This is down from 24 percent in 2015. The industry will be responsible for 10 percent of the cost. The decrease was unfavorable among environmental groups.
  • The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted on new regulations to be used in the lobster industry to help prevent further population decline, including closed seasons and fishing areas, trapping cutbacks, and stricter size standards. Lobster populations are moving northward due to warmer water temperatures in southern New England; 2013 populations south of Cape Cod were estimated to be one-fifth the size of those in the late 1990s. The regulations are still in development and the ASMFC plans to fully implement them by June 2019.
  • The Massachusetts congressional delegation sent a letter to the Obama administration last week, urging it to prevent the proposed EU ban on North American lobster. The letter addressed the delegation’s concerns for economic consequences for the state’s lobster industry and New England’s maritime economy as a whole. All eleven members of the delegation signed the letter.
  • The Massachusetts’ state House budget passed last week includes funding for UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science and Technology. The budget set aside $450,000 for research to improve accuracy in data collection for New England fisheries.
  • The Maritime Heritage Program awarded the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center a $20,000. The Maritime Heritage Program is part of the National Park Service’s Park History Program. The center’s executive director Laura Orleans told the New Bedford Standard-Times that the money will be used to produce an “orientation film” produced by a local filmmaker. A tentative title for the film is “Resilience: The Story of New Bedford’s Fishing Industry.”
  • New research indicates that pesticide exposure has not contributed to lobster die-off in Connecticut as was previously reported. Researchers could not make a conclusion about the population declines, but say that the study supports that warming ocean temperatures play a large role.

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