In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, October 20

Witch flounder is also known as gray sole. Image via NEFSC/NOAA.

  • New assessments show that witch flounder stocks in New England are overfished. It’s unknown, however, if overfishing is occurring. Witch flounder are a popular food fish in New England, but catch has declined over 4 million pounds since the early 2000s. The New England Fishery Management Council must now create a plan to rebuild the population.
  • Maine’s blue mussel harvest reached a 40-year low in 2016, with only 1.8 million pounds. The mussel populations have been declining since the early 2000s when harvesters would routinely collect 3 million pounds. Some factors contributing to the decline include shellfish poison events leading to harvest closures, increasing impacts of ocean acidification, and predation from invasive green crabs.
  • The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is seeking public comment on proposed changes to lobster management. The Commission wants to improve reporting of lobster harvest and collection of biological data. Public comments will be accepted through January 22, 2018.
  • The U.S. government seized four of Carlos Rafael’s vessels on Wednesday: Lady Patricia, Olivia & Rafaela, Southern Crusader II, and Bull Dog. The vessels will likely be auctioned off by the U.S. Marshals Asset Forfeiture Program. Rafael, who will begin his 46-month prison sentence in November, watched the process from afar.
  • Through the Northeast Fisheries Science Center’s Cooperative Research Branch, fisheries scientists and commercial fishermen are working together on a bottom longline survey in the Gulf of Maine. The goal of the survey is to collect data on fish species that are not captured by trawl surveys because they prefer rocky habitat. The survey is now in its fourth year. Researchers have previously collected over 6,200 life history samples and 1,300 samples for studying reproduction and age.


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