In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, April 7

Northern shrimp is historically a favorite winter seafood choice in New England. Image via NEFSC/NOAA.

  • In response to the disagreement between groundfish fishermen and scientists over NOAA’s Gulf of Maine cod stock assessment, Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, in partnership with industry members and UMass SMAST scientists, conducted its own industry-based survey. The state survey trawled in ten times as many locations as the NOAA survey, trawled every month from April 2016 to January 2017 , and trawled for 50 percent longer than the NOAA survey. But the results still revealed an 80 percent decrease in the Gulf of Maine cod population over the last decade and a truncated age structure.
  • The Boston Globe published an editorial about the collapse of the Gulf of Maine cod population and the focus of the Baker administration and other local elected officials. The editorial highlights efforts to “diversify the state’s maritime economy” and promote local underutilized species. The editorial opines: “These are promising ideas. But as long as state and local officials insist on waging a losing battle against the science of counting fish, they cannot give those ideas the full attention they deserve. Cod is an important part of Massachusetts’ heritage. But it is not sacred.”
  • Researchers spotted two North Atlantic right whale calves with their mothers in Cape Cod Bay on Monday. Researchers say that the whales looked healthy. The sighting was a happy moment due to the declining birth rates of the endangered species. Researchers hope to see more whales in the coming weeks.
  • A message from GARFO Regional Administrator John Bullard expressed support for electronic monitoring in New England’s groundfish fishery. He says that “EM represents a new suite of tools to improve reporting accuracy and increase catch monitoring…we need to consider all of the tools in the toolbox.” The message also emphasizes that it is difficult to compare the cost of EM with at-sea monitors but that “EM is getting smaller, faster, and cheaper in a hurry… [and] will likely go into widespread use in a couple of years.”
  • New England’s northern shrimp fishery has been closed for three consecutive years, but ASMFC is developing new management measures to try to save the population. The public will have the opportunity to comment on the plan at upcoming public hearings in Gloucester on June 5, Portsmouth on June 6, Augusta on June 7, and Ellsworth on June 8.

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