In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, June 30

Sea scallop with 100 eyes at Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Photo Credit: Dann Blackwood, USGS

  • The Department of Commerce announced appointments to the regional fishery management councils. There are 22 appointments in all, some new and some returning. In New England, the appointments are Peter Kendall (NH), Elizabeth Etrie (MA), John Pappalardo (MA), and Ernest Stockwell (ME). Appointed members serve a three-year term.
  • The New England Fishery Management Council agreed to write a letter to the Trump Administration asking for it to “slow its push” for seismic testing and offshore oil and gas exploration in the Atlantic Ocean. The letter is in response to an Executive Order issued by the President in April. The Council expressed concerns that seismic testing is harmful to fisheries and that more data is needed on potential impacts.
  • Berl Hartman, a Cambridge, MA resident and the founding director of the New England chapter of Environmental Entrepreneurs, wrote a letter to the Boston Globe supporting the continued preservation of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. She writes, “Closing an area of the ocean to all economic activity to protect oceans resources turns out to be an effective way to ensure our region’s economy will continue to flourish…When ocean resources are compromised, so, too, are the industries that depend on them. To protect them and the region’s hundreds of thousands of jobs, we must preserve this monument.” The canyons and seamounts is one of the national monuments under review by the Department of Interior.
  • The New England Fishery Management Council is exploring ways to improve the monitoring system for the groundfish fishery, including replacing human observers with electronic monitoring and considering ways to streamline weekly reporting. The Groundfish Plan Development Team is expected to present a full report to the Council in September. As reported by RIPR, “Regulators say accurate data is necessary to set catch limits and prevent overfishing.”
  • The sentencing trial for Carlos Rafael is scheduled for July 28 in Boston, MA. This is the likely date when the public will learn of the fate of Rafael’s groundfish permits. Rafael’s permits have been repeatedly discussed ever since his arrest and many have weighed in on the issue, including industry members, the Mayor of New Bedford, and U.S. Senators. You can read more about what each are saying here.
  • In a study intended to characterize New England fisheries, NOAA researchers found that most of the groundfish landed in New England is consumed in New England. Most scallops, however, are distributed around the country or internationally. The study used data from the New England Fishery Management Council as well as other stakeholders. Overall, species landings “vary widely in where they are sold and how they are used,” reported the Gloucester Daily Times.

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