In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, November 2

Atlantic salmon is known as the King of Fish. Image via NOAA Fisheries.

  • Maine DMR will host a second public hearing on the proposed expansion of an aquaculture site on Spinney Creek between Eliot and Kittery, Maine. In a turn of events, property owners on the Kittery-side of the creek sent a letter to DMR claiming riparian rights and possible ownership to the middle of the creek. According to Seacoast Online, “They claim if the [Spinney Creek Shellfish owners] did not control the tidal gate that closes off the creek to the Piscataqua River the body of water would be intertidal, with the aquaculture contraptions ultimately resting on their privately owned land at low tide.”
  • Scientists discovered that the ocean has held 60 percent more heat over the last 25 years than previously thought, which could mean faster warming for the planet. The finding helps clarify previous “murkiness about how quickly the oceans were heating up,” reports the Washington Post. They further report, “If ocean temperatures are rising more rapidly than previously calculated, that could leave nations even less time to dramatically cut the world’s emissions of carbon dioxide.”
  • Falling overboard is the leading cause of death at sea for New England lobstermen. Researchers are trying to change that, though, by developing a functional lifejacket for the job. In a study that included nearly 200 commercial lobstermen from Maine and Massachusetts, the Northeast Center for Occupational Safetyand Health for Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing tested nine jacket models, and asked lobstermen to describe their experience; the number one concern was bulkiness and interference with work. However, the study also found that some lobstermen believe there is simply a social stigma to wearing lifejackets. Ellsworth American reports, “The next step will involve translating data from the study into commercially viable products that lobstermen will buy and use.”
  • There is growing concern about the presence of great white sharks on Cape Cod, and some are blaming the booming seal population, even calling for a cull of both seals and sharks. But scientists say that Cape Cod is historical territory for seals and “what we’re seeing is a restoration of a more balanced and healthy ecosystem following major disruptions,” reports the Cape Cod Chronicle. Furthermore, the seals do not only live on Cape Cod, but are part of a broader Northwest Atlantic population. The Chatham Board of Selectmen is scheduled to discuss the impact of sharks and seals next week.
  • The Responsible Offshore Development Alliance (RODA) hosted a workshop this week with the New England fishing industry and the offshore wind industry. NOAA and the Coast Guard were also in attendance. The day’s conversation focused on transit lanes through offshore wind sites, particularly the width and orientation of the lanes. Both industries agreed on north/south and east/west route, but width remains an obstacle. Vice President of Deepwater Wind Matthew Morrissey told South Coast Today, I think that we came to consensus on a number of issues, and there are still a few more that need more conversation, more data to better understand any particular position, but I’m confident that in the process we can get there.”
  • In celebration of NOAA Fisheries’ International Year of the Salmon, the New England Aquarium hosted a public lecture about the cultural and historical importance of Atlantic salmon in New England. Lecturers included Catherine Schmitt, author of The President’s Salmon: Restoring the King of Fish and its Home Waters, and Madonna Soctomah, former Passamaquoddy Tribal Representative with the Maine State Legislature and St. Croix International Waterway Commissioner. WCAI reports that the first Atlantic salmon caught in Maine’s Penobscot River used to be presented to the president of the United States each year, and Soctomah told WCAI, “Culturally [Atlantic salmon] is connected to who we are and the loss of the fish and the river would compromise the identity of the Passamaquoddy people.” Unfortunately, overfishing and habitat destruction have plagued the wild salmon population, but tribes are working on the ground to help bring the fish back.


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