In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, August 11

A shortfin mako smiles for the camera. Image via NOAA/SWFSC.

  • The Northeast Fisheries Science Center has scheduled a round of informal meetings at local groundfish ports to meet with commercial and recreational fishermen about the upcoming groundfish operational assessments. The meetings will discuss the stock assessment process, the cooperative research program, and how the NEFSC can address fishermen’s concerns. The meetings begin next week. Find a schedule  here.
  • A new study revealed that shortfin mako sharks are more threatened by fishing mortality than previously thought. The study, focusing in the western North Atlantic, relied on real-time satellite tags that allowed researchers to directly track catch, rather than rely on self-reports of catch. The study included 40 tagged sharks, 30 percent of which were caught in fisheries. The satellite tags also showed that mako sharks are international, emphasizing the need for coordination between countries.
  • Another new study revealed the advantages of using marine reserves as a management tool in multispecies fisheries, especially when managing for bycatch. It concluded that “for many fisheries, yields of strong stocks can be increased, and persistence of weak stocks can be ensured…” The study focused on the West Coast groundfish fishery.
  • High profits in East Coast elver fishery have led to widespread poaching, say licensed U.S. fishermen. The federal government, including the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has launched “Operation Broken Glass” to crackdown on illegal harvest and trade. So far, the operation has led to 15 guilty pleas, carrying a value of $4 million. Maine has the largest elver fishery on the East Coast.
  • Recreational fishermen are not allowed to catch Gulf of Maine cod for the remainder of the season, and some say that the charter boats are already feeling the effects with customers cancelling reservations. One charter boat captain told the Union Leader that he can understand why but also doesn’t think the measure are going to do much to help. Gulf of Maine cod stocks are suffering, and recreational fishermen exceeding their catch limit by 92 percent last year, said a NOAA spokeswoman.
  • At its recent meeting, the ASMFC lobster management board voted against a plan to help bring back Southern New England lobster populations. Some fishermen have been critical of the plan, saying “they shouldn’t be penalized for environmental changes that are harming the crustaceans,” reported the AP. Board members, however, will still work on another plan for preserving the stock.

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