In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, February 24

A larval cod. Image via NEFSC.

  • The 42nd Maine Fishermen’s Forum will take place next weekend, March 2-4, at the Samoset in Rockport, ME. Some features of the forum are a tradeshow, educational seminars, wellness checks, family-fun activities. This year’s event will feature seminars on groundfish monitoring, the deep-sea coral amendment, aquaculture, halibut management, and more. Attendance is free.
  • Due to recent budget cuts, Maine Department of Marine Resources has proposed to increase fees on lobster licenses in order to pay for needed lobster research. Some lobster are disagreeing with the increase, saying that the fees are too high and they should not be responsible for funding research. Others are calling it “a small sacrifice needed to expand the department’s woefully underfunded research capability,” reported the Portland Press Herald.
  • A University of New Brunswick researcher recently discovered tree-ring-like growth bands on a part of a lobster’s stomach that can help determine a lobster’s age. The researcher visited the Darling Marine Center in Maine where researchers have been trying to develop better techniques for determining a lobster’s age. Currently a lobster’s age is determined by its size, but lobster growth can be affected by ocean conditions so this method is not fully reliable. Knowing a lobster’s age is important for species health and stock sustainability.
  • Commercial and recreational fishermen are unsure of how they will be affected by President Trump’s executive order requiring that with every new regulation two must be repealed. NOAA is also trying to determine how the “one in, two out” executive order will impact fisheries management. A spokeswomen for the agency said that “everything is proceeding as usual”, for now.
  • The Boston Globe ran a story featuring Togue Brawn, the owner of Downeast Dayboat in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Downeast Dayboat connects Maine scallopers directly with customers, who receive their scallops within 24 hours of being caught. The scallops harvested by the dayboat fleet are different from those caught by trip-boats because they do not need to put the scallops on ice. As a result, dayboat scallops are not waterlogged like those harvested by trip-boats. The scallops also take on a different flavor depending on the area they are harvested from.
  • Nantucket fishermen have petitioned the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries to prohibit draggers and scallopers from towing and dredging along the bottom in state waters from May 1 to October 31. The fishermen say fishing along the bottom during these months disrupts the developing squid embryos. Squid are an important food source for striped bass, which Nantucket fishermen have had difficulty catching in recent years.
  • Small and big boat scallop fishermen in the Northern Gulf of Maine are in disagreement over regulations in the fishery. Small boats have a 200-pound possession limit, while big boats are regulated by days at sea. As a result, small boat fishermen are saying that the big boats have more opportunity to access the resource and are “gobbling up the scallops in one of the most important areas where [small boats] fish,” reported the AP. The New England Fishery Management Council has identified the issue as one of its 2017 priorities.
  • A recent story in Hakai Magazine discusses a new bill introduced by Alaskan Representative Don Young that will weaken the conservation measures in the Magnuson-Stevens Act. For example, the bill will give more flexibility to regional fishery management councils when setting rebuilding plans and timelines. The bill resembles one introduced by Rep. Young last year, which President Obama threatened to veto.

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