In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, March 2

Image via NEFSC/NOAA.

  • The value of Maine’s lobster landings decreased by nearly $100 million from 2017 to 2016, but that fishery is still strong. Even though this is the largest single-year decline ever seen in the fishery, 2017 landings were valued at over $433 million – the fourth-highest yearly landing total, reports the Bangor Daily News. Maine lobstermen landed almost 111 million pounds of lobster, marking the 7th year in a row of the state landing more than 100 million pounds.
  • The Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act passed out of Senate committee this week and will now go to the floor for a vote. Saltwater anglers support the bill, telling Undercurrent New that it will enhance their fishing and help build their economy. Commercial fishermen, as well as environmental advocacy groups are not as satisfied, saying that the bill will reverse the progress the U.S. has made in building sustainable fisheries.
  • New England fishermen typically do not land their quota for monkfish due to a combination of lack of markets and “convoluted fishing regulations,” reports the Associated Press; however, catch limits for monkfish will be higher in the new fishing year. Fishermen, regulators, and environmental groups hope that consumers will start buying more of this “particularly weird-looking fish,” which is typically more affordable than popular New England species.
  • The 2018 federal scallop season will kick off with some new harvesting rules on April 1. In the Northern Gulf of Maine federal scallop area, vessels with federal permits fishing under days-at-sea will now have to adhere to a 65,000 pound annual catch limit. These often larger vessels fishing out of Massachusetts previously did not have a catch limit. The new rules are expected to help even the playing field for smaller Maine vessels who are limited to 200 pounds per day and a 70,000 pound annual limit.
  • East coast fishermen will only be able to land up to 20,000 pounds of Atlantic mackerel per trip for the rest of the calendar year because they are close to their catch limit for river herring and shad. Atlantic mackerel are caught from Maine to North Carolina, but most are landed in Massachusetts.
  • The Marine Mammal Commission has been working through science and policy for 45 years to protect the nation’s seals, whales and more. President’s Trump’s proposed FY19 budget, however, would eliminate all funding for the Commission, which currently has an operating budget of $3.4 million per year. The Marine Mammal Protection Act instructs the Commission to oversee federal marine mammal policies and programs, but that would become impossible without any funding. Read more in Scientific American.


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