In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, February 2

An electronic monitoring camera on a fishing vessel. Image via NMFS.

  • The New England Fishery Management Council finalized the Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment and voted to send it to NOAA Fisheries for approval. The Council voted to prohibit fishing with bottom-tending gear below 600 meters in the canyon area south of Georges Bank, with the exception of the red crab fishery. The vote is viewed as a win for ocean conservation, but some are still disappointed that the Council chose not to protect more. The Council voted on the Gulf of Maine portion of the amendment last year where it established two zones restricting mobile-bottom tending gear as well as a habitat research area.
  • The New England Fishery Management Council will send a letter to the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management opposing offshore oil and gas exploration in New England and Mid-Atlantic waters. The Council said that exploration and extraction “may harm living marine resources and the communities that depend on them.”
  • NOAA Fisheries, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office published its 2017 Year in Review The report describes management measures that GARFO took this year to improve fisheries and ocean conservation. Three measures that former Regional Administrator John Bullard highlights are: the Mid-Atlantic’s Deep Sea Coral Amendment, the Mid-Atlantic’s Forage Fish Amendment, and the designation of Atlantic sturgeon critical habitat.
  • Environmental police allegedly found five bags of illegal scallops on the F/V Dinah Jane, a vessel owned by Carlos Rafael. The vessel is also part of Northeast Groundfish Sector 9, which is currently shut down; however, the vessel was still allowed to fish for scallops. This is not the first time the captain of the Dinah Jane has been cited for violations.
  • The New England Fishery Management Council received a presentation on the potential of electronic reporting and monitoring in New England and the next steps that need to happen to implement it. Steve Kennelly of IC Independent Consulting and Mark Hager of GMRI interviewed 79 people over two months to survey their feelings towards and knowledge of electronic reporting and monitoring. Kennelly told the Council that electronic reporting could be implemented within a year and monitoring should follow. He added that the Council should focus on education and outreach to improve understanding of the systems.
  • The North Atlantic right whale found dead off Virginia was well-known to researchers along the east coast, having been documented 90 times. The animal was identified as right whale 3893, a 10-year old female just reaching reproductive age. The necropsy found that she died as a result of chronic entanglement in fishing gear.

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