In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, December 8

A memorial statue to fishermen lost at sea looks out on the water in Gloucester, MA. Image via NOAA.

  • The New England Fishery Management Council voted to send Draft Amendment 8 to the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan out for public comment. The Council did not choose preferred alternatives for the amendment. The amendment is focused on setting a new long-term acceptable biological catch control rule as well as addressing the issue of localized depletion in the fishery. Public hearings for the amendment will be held in early 2018.
  • A surf clam vessel, the Misty Blue, sank off Nantucket on Monday. The captain and a crew member were rescued by another fishing vessel nearby, but two crew members are still missing. A dive team has located what they believe is the sunken vessel, but search efforts for the missing crew have been postponed until Saturday due to rough seas. The National Transportation Safety Board and the Coast Guard are investigating the incident.
  • Researchers have found that North Atlantic right whales that are entangled in fishing gear, have become stranded, or struck by ships have off-the-chart levels of stress hormones. The researchers were able to determine the stress levels by studying whale feces and comparing it to baseline records that were collected over 15 years. One female whale had eight times the level of stress hormone after she had been entangled, and subsequently died. A senior scientist at the New England Aquarium told The New York Times, “This highlights the extreme physical suffering these animals are going through when they’re entangled in fishing lines.”
  • Scallop season is now under way in Maine and will run through mid-April. Most fishermen will be able to harvest 10-15 gallons of scallops per day. The Maine scallop fishery has rebounded since its collapse in the mid-2000s and saw record dock prices last year.
  • The New England Fishery Management Council approved Framework 57 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. The framework sets 2018-2020 annual catch limits for groundfish stocks. Catch limits for Georges Bank cod, Gulf of Maine cod, Gulf of Maine haddock, and pollock were all increased for the 2018 fishing year, but fishermen hoped for more, drawing attention again to their disagreement with the current stock assessments. Catch limits for three flounder stocks were decreased.
  • The future is uncertain for southern New England lobster. The industry has nearly collapsed with catch dropping 90 percent in some areas. In addition to fishing pressure, warming temperatures also threaten the favorite crustacean. Fishery regulators have tabled a decision to restrict further harvesting, but many are saying that action needs to be taken now. Read more in The Boston Globe here.

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