In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, October 5

Atlantic sea scallops. Image via NOAA Fisheries.

  • After a successful summer season, Brewster, MA extended its commercial razor clam pilot program until November 12. Some shellfishermen had requested an extension to the end of the year, but the Cape Cod Times reports that the Select Board “expressed concern that extending the pilot for the rest of the year could harm the long-term health of the fishery.” Officials also approved a population study.
  • As waters in the Gulf of Maine warm, some lobstermen are looking to diversify their businesses to stay afloat. Maine Public radio recently highlighted the story of Marsden Brewer, a third generation Maine fishermen using his lobster boat to farm scallops about one mile offshore. With the assistance of a marine extension agent from the University of Maine, Brewer and his son are experimenting with a Japanese method to farm scallops that uses “a long rope strung with 12-foot dark mesh bags,” reports Maine Public Radio. “The collapsible bags are partitioned by horizontal shelves, giving them the look of giant Japanese paper lanterns. Inside, each level holds 20 or so squirting scallops.” Brewer plans to sell thousands of scallops in the winter and hopes to get at least $1.50 each wholesale.
  • Over 100 people turned out for a public meeting on a proposed 3.67-acre experimental lease to farm oysters and quahogs on Spinney Creek in Maine. Spinney Creek is a 127-acre salt water pond between Eliot and Kittery that feeds into the Piscataqua River. The applicants, Spinney Creek Shellfish, have been farming on the creek since 1983 and currently operate 180 aquaculture cages. Some residents, however, expressed concern that an expansion to as many as 800 cages could impact the environment and quality of life. Great Bay-Piscataqua Waterkeeper Melissa Paly, however, told Seacoast Online that Spinney Creek Shellfish is “providing many water quality and ecosystem benefits to everyone who lives around the pond.”
  • Seafood industry members gathered at the Massachusetts State House on Tuesday to celebrate Seafood Day. Newburyport News reports, “The State House event, co-sponsored by the nonprofit Fishing Partnership Support Services and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, featured freshly prepared seafood, music, speeches by state officials and industry leaders, and general information about the size and scope of the industry.” The New England Aquarium also highlighted some of its lobster conservation work.
  • A new study from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute says that ocean acidification due to climate change could reduce the scallop population by as much as 50 percent. The higher acidity levels negatively impact scallop growth, calcification, and swimming, and, as a result, increase vulnerability to predators. Rhode Island Public Radio reports that the study’s lead author, Jennie Rheuban, “said reducing carbon emissions and continued management of the fishery could prevent the scallop population from declining so drastically.”

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