In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, November 3

Atlantic halibut have a large mouth filled with sharp, curved teeth. Image via mass.gov.

  • NOAA Fisheries released its annual Fisheries of the United States report this week. The report reveals that the 2016 value of U.S. fisheries increased by a little more than 2 percent compared to 2015, but landing volume was down 1.5 percent. Overall, commercial fishermen landed 9.6 billion pounds, valued at $5.3 billion. New Bedford, MA remained the most valuable port for the 17th consecutive year.
  • The U.S. government filed an appeal with the First Circuit regarding Judge Young’s decision requiring Carlos Rafael to forfeit only four vessels. The government had been seeking forfeiture of 13 of Rafael’s groundfish vessels and associated permits. The appeal follows shortly after the Judge denied the government’s motion for reconsideration last week.
  • An external panel of fishery managers and scientists will be reviewing the New England Fishery Management Council’s performance and identifying areas for improvement. Stakeholders are being asked to complete a 15-20 minute survey about the Council and the Council process and are also invited to attend public meetings throughout New England starting on November 13th.
  • According to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, stock assessments indicate that the Atlantic sturgeon population is slowly improving. Nonetheless, the population is still a fraction of is historical abundance. There has been a complete fishing moratorium on Atlantic sturgeon since 1998, but the species is still vulnerable to habitat loss, ship strike, incidental fishing, and climate change, reports the Associated Press.
  • Cape Cod fishermen are hopeful that Atlantic halibut numbers are increasing. Although still listed as a species of concern by NOAA, fishermen say they are seeing more and more halibut in the water and more fishermen are landing their one halibut a day. The Nature Conservancy has been working closely with fishermen on the issue and told the Cape Cod Times, “This is a rebuilding story in a fishery that doesn’t have rebuilding stories. We have make sure we’re collecting good data and making good management decisions.”

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