In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, February 9

Atlantic cod has been overfished or subject to overfishing in New England since at least 1989. Photo credit: Brian Skerry,

  • Early Monday morning, two fishing vessels belonging to Carlos Rafael sank at Homer’s Wharf in New Bedford, MA. The vessels, Dinah Jane and Nemesis, were tied together, one likely pulling down the other. At least one of the vessels leaked oil. The cause of the sinking and the full damage cannot be assessed until the vessels are recovered.
  • Social media users will now be able to express their love for Maine’s favorite crustacean. A lobster emoji was among the 157 new emoji approved for release in 2018. Over 5,000 people signed a petition last summer asking for a lobster emoji. This week, Senator Angus King celebrated on Twitter: “Great news for Maine – we’re getting a lobster emoji!!! Thanks to @unicode for recognizing the impact of this critical crustacean, in Maine and across the country.”
  • The New England Fishery Management Council recently discussed 2018 recreational limits for haddock and cod. The NEFMC recommended zero Gulf of Maine cod possession, a 12-fish bag limit and 17-inch minimum size for haddock, and a 10-fish bag limit and 24-inch minimum for Georges Bank cod. Two seasonal closures will also be in place March 1 to April 14 and Sept 17 to Oct 31. These recommendations could change, however, depending if Massachusetts continues to allow a one-cod limit for anglers. Read more in the Gloucester Times here.
  • The Maine Department of Marine Resources has closed popular scalloping grounds including Sand and Machias Bays and Witing and Dennys Bays (part of Cobscook Bay). Closures are a common management tool to prevent overfishing. DMR said that catch rates have slowed and targets have almost been met, reports the Associated Press.
  • In a letter sent to NOAA Fisheries, the Board of Directors for Groundfish Sector 9 has asked for its license to be reinstated. The Board has proposed that Carlos Rafael would pay a fine to the sector of $2,500 for each vessel involved in his criminal activity (total $32,500) as well as $10,000 for jeopardizing the sector’s operations plan. The sector also claims that if their unused catch allocations exceeds the illegal catch, then it should not have to account for those illegal fish. com explains more details of the letter.
  • The New England Fishery Management Council is forming a fishery dependent data working group. According to the NEFMC, the working group will explain how data is used in stock assessments, summarize the theoretical utility and limitations of catch per unit effort and landings per unit effort as an index for abundance, identify data needs to create a reliable CPUE, and perform a gap analysis that compares existing factors to desired factors. The NEFMC is currently seeking applicants for the working group. A preliminary report is expected by June 2018.


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