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In the News
Fish Talk in the News – Friday, December 21
A memorial statue to fishermen lost at sea looks out on the water in Gloucester, MA. Image via NOAA.
- Maine lobstermen landed 110 million pounds of lobster last year, which, after consumption, produced some 33,000 tons of leftover shells. Researchers from McGill University have found a way to turn crustacean shells – including lobster, crab, and shrimp – into biodegradable plastic. Ellsworth American reports, “The process, which calls for grinding hard shells made of chitin into a fine powder, then treating that powder with sodium hydroxide and heat, produces chitosan, a material already use in biomedical applications but difficult to produce in substantial quantities.” Read more here.
- Senators Markey, Warren, Reed, and Whitehouse sent a letter to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on the need for fishermen and other stakeholder interests to be considered early in the offshore wind farm siting process and for the agency to adopt policies for doing so. AP reports, “The senators say their states understand that smart planning and consultation with stakeholders, particularly the fishing industry, will allow offshore wind to flourish and protect important ocean resources.”
- In a unanimous vote, the Portland City Council enacted a 6-month moratorium on development along the working waterfront. The moratorium, which is in effect until June 15, will hopefully provide the opportunity to address tensions between fishermen and developers. The Portland Press Herald reports that City Manager Jon Jennings “will convene a task force of about 11 people in the coming days to address myriad issues affecting the waterfront – from zoning to traffic to enforcing current rules.” A group of pier owners and fishermen are currently collecting signatures on a referendum that would restrict non-marine construction on the piers for five years.
- Three tracts of New England ocean totaling 390,000 acres were auctioned off last week in what was the biggest U.S. offshore wind energy lease auction ever. The winning bids of $135 million each were from Equinor, Mayflower Wind Energy, and Vineyard Wind for a total of $405 million. James Bennett from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s renewable energy program said, “It’s indicative of the strength of the growing industry for offshore wind energy.”
- Congress passed the Modern Fish Act this week, which is an amendment to the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The recreational fishing community is calling the vote a victory. Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops, told Sport Fishing Magazine, “The Modern Fish Act is the most significant update to America’s saltwater fishing regulations in more than 40 years and the recreational fishing community couldn’t be more excited.” The legislation now goes to the President’s desk for approval. Read more here.