In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, October 26

Offshore wind is expanding in New England. Image of Block Island Wind Farm via NOAA Sea Grant.

  • The New England Fishery Management Council is seeking an independent contractor to conduct a review of New England’s groundfish sector system as part of the Groundfish Catch Share Program Review. NOAA policy guidance states that Councils should review catch share programs “no less frequently than once every seven years.” The contractor will assist a technical working group composed of members from the Council, the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, and the Greater Atlantic Fisheries Office. The review will focus on the fishing years 2010 to 2015, which were the first six years of the catch share program.
  • ASMFC’s American Lobster Management Board will develop a new bait safety resolution to prohibit the use of exotic baits in the fishery. There is concern that exotic baits could introduce disease, parasites, or invasive species, reports the Portland Press Herald. The resolution will be modeled after strict Maine bait rules that were implemented in 2013.
  • A Portsmouth-based for-hire fishing captain pled guilty to federal charges of falsifying fishing logs to qualify for groundfish disaster-relief funds after Hurricane Sandy. Captain Bardzik submitted the falsified logs in an appeal after he was originally denied the federal funds. According to Seacoast Online, the plea agreement reports, “In total, Bardzik submitted nine falsified and/or altered FVTRs for trips in 2013 in which his vessel never actually fished.”
  • The New England Fishery Management Council reopened the public comment period for its Whiting Amendment because of “a discrepancy between the number of estimated qualifying vessels cited in the DEIS and in the public hearing document itself.” The amendment, which impacts whiting as well as northern and southern red hake, addresses: 1) limited access qualification criteria, 2) possession limits by permit type, and 3) permit conditions. The Council will host a public webinar on November 14 and is also collecting written comments through 5 p.m. on November 23.
  • The Trump Administration announced that it will hold an offshore wind auction on December 13 for 388,569 acres of the Massachusetts Wind Energy Area. Three lease areas will be auctioned and 19 companies have qualified to participate. Secretary Zinke said in a statement, “If fully developed, the wind auction could support approximately 4.1 gigawatts of power to supply nearly 1.5 million homes.”

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