In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, September 15

Atlantic cod are considered a "choke species" in the Gulf of Maine. Photo credit: Dieter Craasman.

  • The New England Fishery Management Council has launched a new Codend Compliance Assistance Program. Nets tend to shrink over time, sometimes to illegal sizes. Participants in this program, however, can have their codends pre-measured so that subsequent measuring in the case of a Coast Guard boarding could “possibly result in a ‘fix it’ opportunity or reduced penalty,” states a NEFMC press release. The program is still in the pilot phase and fishermen can sign up on a voluntary basis. Terry Alexander, commercial fisherman and NEFMC member, said, “This is not a free ticket to tow illegal mesh. But if you’re participating in the program…it sends a signal that you’re a responsible harvester and are trying to fish legally.” NEFMC’s Enforcement Committee will monitor the program.
  • In addition to the Gulf of Maine warming faster than 99 percent of the world’s ocean areas, a new study from the University of Maine reveals that summer conditions are lasting about two months longer in the Gulf of Maine compared to 33 years ago. In that time period, the Gulf of Maine has warmed about one degree, and most of the warming has taken place in the summer and into the fall. One of the lead researchers told WCAI that “there are definitely marine species that are going to have trouble adapting to that kind of change, because it is happening very rapidly.”
  • NOAA Fisheries is closing the shortfin squid fishery for the remainder of 2017 to avoid overfishing; 95 percent of the quota has already been caught. Squid fishing permit holders will be held to a per trip possession limit of 10,000 pounds. Most shortfin squid is caught off of Rhode Island and used for calamari.
  • Fishermen and scientists are still at odds over how many fish are in the water, as highlighted in a recent story in the Boston Globe. Particular concerns remain about the low quota for Atlantic cod, which is forcing some fishermen to lease quota just in order to target other species. Read more here.

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