In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, December 15

Atlantic cod has been overfished or subject to overfishing in New England since at least 1989. Photo credit: Brian Skerry,

  • A new study conducted by NOAA scientists and published in Scientific Reports concludes that ambient noise caused by vessel traffic can interfere with Atlantic cod and haddock communication near spawning sites, potentially impacting feeding, mating, and socializing behaviors. The sites studied include two inside Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and one inshore south of Cape Ann. Science Daily reports, “Since Atlantic cod, for example, vocalize to attract mates and listen for predators, not hearing those signals could potentially reduce reproductive success and survival.”
  • H.R. 200, the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act, passed out of committee this week. The U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Natural Resources voted 22-16 to move the bill forward. The bill is intended to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Oceana campaign director told Undercurrent News that the vote is “a slap in the face to anyone who cares about ensuring the health our nation’s fisheries…” The debate will likely continue into 2018.
  • Federal officials have warned that North Atlantic right whales may become extinct unless action is taken soon. There are only about 450 individuals left in the population, and 17 have died in 2017. The two greatest threats to right whales are fishing gear entanglement and ship strikes. The U.S. and Canada will have to work together in order to save the species.
  • Maine’s Department of Marine Resources is establishing the Maine Lobster Research Collaborative to conduct a scientific assessment of the lobster fishery. The half-million-dollar project will focus on the biological, physical, and social aspects of the fishery. Maine lobster landings are currently down this year.
  • NOAA is providing $450,000 for aquaculture pilot projects and “environmentally sustainable ocean farming” along the Atlantic coast. The agency says it wants to offset a seafood trade deficit. Funds will also be available in the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will be responsible for distributing the funds along the east coast.

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