In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, January 20

Two fishing vessels dot the horizon on the Firth of Clyde. Image via Wikimedia Commons

  • The Northeast Fisheries Science Center will begin equipping commercial fishing boats with survey technology to provide additional data to government-led trawl surveys. Fishermen will receive payment for participation. It’s the hope that the new strategy will work to solve the disagreement between fishermen and scientists about stock assessments in New England, particularly regarding Atlantic cod.
  • Pending approval by the Legislature, the Maine Department of Marine Resources is looking to increase the price of commercial fishing licenses by as much as $114. This would be the first price increase in seven years. The new fees, which would generate about $600,000, would take effect January 2018.
  • The harvest size seems to be the same as last year, but dock-side prices for Maine scallops have reached a new record, $13.50 per pound. The previous record was set in 2015 with a price of $12.70 per pound. The scallops sell to customers for $20-25 per pound.
  • The Gloucester Daily Times has launched a new fish column called FishOn. The weekly Monday column will be a round-up of fishing-related briefs and an information source for public meetings and events. This week’s column featured Carlos Rafael and Maine lobster.
  • The National Marine Fisheries Service published the final rule on the Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodology. The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires that all fishery management plans have a way to assess bycatch in a fishery, and the methodology provides guidance on how to do so. The final rule is effective February 21, 2017.
  • The AP reported that Swedish officials are drafting a new proposal on American lobster imports, after the European Union rejected the nation’s initial request to ban the species. Officials are still concerned about the potential of American lobster becoming an invasive species in Sweden. The new proposal will not be an international ban but will address countrywide and regional concerns.
  • Massachusetts granted Vineyard fishermen commercial permits for growing and harvesting seaweed. The state has been involved in scientific studies of seaweed since 2012, but these are the first commercial permits granted. Worldwide, commercial seaweed is a $5.5 billion industry.
  • A new study published in Nature Communications addressed the importance of diversifying catch in fishing communities. Compared to communities that rely on select fisheries, communities that harvested many different species were more resilient during changes in fish abundance and market prices. The study focused on Alaskan fisheries, but the lead author told Phys.org that the conclusions apply worldwide. He said, “This study is about starting the conversation about how communities can buffer themselves against unpredictable ecosystem changes in the future.”
  • Connecticut fishermen are concerned that the quota cuts for commercial fluke, which took effect January 1st, will put them out of business. The Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office said, “The quota reduction is based on research findings,” reported The Day. But fishermen say that the science is not accurate and that there are plenty of fish in the water. Senator Blumenthal sent a letter to the Department of Commerce asking to change the quota allocation for fish between the mid-Atlantic and New England.
  • The Gulf of Maine Research Institute added American plaice, a species of flounder also known as dabs, to its “Gulf of Maine Responsibly Harvested” list. Two to four million pounds of the fish are caught per year in the region.

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