In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, November 18

Removing dams at Saccarappa Falls on the Presumpscot River will open the river to keystone fish species and help restore their populations.

  • A Maine lobsterman was charged with fishing an excess of 156 lobster traps during a routine patrol last month. The traps belonged to another license holder. The lobsterman was also charged with fishing traps whose tags were not registered to his vessel. He faces fines and a possible lobster license suspension.
  • A Massachusetts lobstermen allegedly unloaded 183 illegal lobsters last week at a lobster wholesaler in East Gloucester. The Massachusetts Environmental Police have not yet released the lobsterman’s name or vessel ID. Of the 183 lobsters, 144 were undersized, 47 were v-notched, and 2 were egg-bearing. The wholesaler does not hold any responsibility.
  • Engineers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution developed a new type of lobster trap that has the potential to reduce whale entanglements. Rather than vertical rope lines in the water column, the trap has a device called an “on-call” buoy that the lobstermen can activate when they are ready to haul the traps. When activated, the buoy and a rope will float to the surface. The device could also reduce gear loss.
  • The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is hosting public hearings about the management of the menhaden fishery. The hearings offer the opportunity for fishermen and other stakeholders to provide their input. The hearings will take place November 30 to December 20.
  • The Fishing Heritage Center in New Bedford, MA features free monthly “Dock-U-Mentaries.” Tonight, the Center will feature a film called “In History’s Wake: the Last Trap Fishermen of Rhode Island.” A new exhibit will also open tonight, “New England Fishermen: The Photography of Markham Starr.” According to a statement released by the Center, “[Starr’s] images attempt to place today’s fishermen within the context of the long history of commercial fishing in New England, and preserve something of this important working culture for future generations.”
  • A long-awaited settlement agreement was reached to remove two dams at Saccarappa Falls in Westbrook, ME and construct fish ladders. The agreement was made by Friends of the Presumpsot River, Conservation Law Foundation, and Sappi Fine Paper (the dam owner). The fish ladders will allow sea-run fish to access important spawning habitat and lead to a healthier river ecosystem. Sappi Fine Paper will also be required to remove two dams or install fish passage further upriver once a certain number of fish pass through Saccarappa Falls.
  • Fishermen will be able to land more scallops in the 2017 fishing year. The New England Fishery Management Council approved new rules that could result in a 47 million pound yield of scallops during the 2017 fishing year. In 2014 and 2015, scallops were worth $12 per pound at the dock.
  • Researchers designed a new net that can be used to target flatfish and avoid cod. As reported by Undercurrent News, “the ultra-low opening trawl (ULOT) has a smaller vertical opening than a typical trawl net…This design allows for cod to swim up and over the net, escaping capture.” The net reduced cod catch by 45 percent and also allowed for less fuel consumption. The low catch quotas for cod in the Gulf of Maine inspired the net design.
  • At the end of October, the New England Fishery Management Council received a letter from Regional Administrator John Bullard asking it to amend fishery management plans according to the Marine National Monument. At its meeting this week, the Council decided that it would not develop any amendments and would leave the responsibility up to the federal government. The Council also voted to not exclude the monument area from analysis in its Deep-Sea Coral Amendment.

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