In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, April 6

Menhaden swimming through water. Photo credit: Gene Helfman (via The Pew Charitable Trusts).

  • NOAA Fisheries announced that the approved management measures of the New England Fishery Management Council’s Omnibus Habitat Amendment 2 will become effective April 9, 2018. Among the new measures are updates to essential fish habitat designations, new habitat areas of particular concern, new spatial management areas for the Gulf of Maine, Georges Bank, and southern New England, and two dedicated habitat research areas. Find more details here.
  • The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has reallocated quota for menhaden, also known as pogies, along the east coast. Maine will be able to catch 2.4 million pounds of menhaden this year – 13 times its 2016 and 2017 quotas. The increase in quota provides more economic opportunity for those few fishermen who target menhaden and will benefit lobstermen who use the fish as bait. Conservation groups are still cautious of the increase since menhaden have been overfished in the past. They hope that the ASMFC will consider menhaden’s role in the marine ecosystem as a key prey species.
  • The North Atlantic right whale’s breeding season came to a close last weekend and no new calves have been sighted. This is the first season without calves since researchers began surveying the whale’s population.
  • The Boston Globe published an op-ed this week from former Regional Administrator John Bullard that discussed the dire circumstances facing the North Atlantic right whale. Bullard called on the multi-million dollar lobster industry to take a leadership role. The lobster industry has attempted to address the problem in the past, but Bullard writes that “it is time to acknowledge that these efforts are not enough. The industry needs to consider other ideas, including closing additional areas and reductions in trap limits as well as trying out lower-breaking-strength ropes or testing ropeless gear technology.”
  • Alewife, a species of river herring, have started their annual migration early this year in Gloucester, MA. The fish are traveling up the Little River to the Lily Pond to spawn. River herring usually wait for water temperatures to reach about 53 degrees Fahrenheit. Last year, researchers counted about 3,300 alewives making the journey upriver.
  • Commercial fishing is a dangerous profession. Fishermen are 37 times more likely to die on the job than police offices, reports the Patriot Ledger, but only 10 percent of commercial fishermen have safety training. To help change that, a Burlington-based non-profit, Fishing Partnership Support Services is offering free safety and survival training to fishermen and lobstermen in New England. Read more here.

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