In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, September 7

Image via NOAA Sea Grant

  • The Cape Ann Seafood Exchange resumed business this week. The government had frozen the Exchange’s bank accounts for two weeks after failure to $240,000 in back wages related to a civil action lawsuit. Local elected officials, including federal and state representatives, helped to get the business running again.
  • Over 400 seals have died off the coast of New England this summer, mostly off of Maine. NOAA officials have declared the deaths as an “usual mortality event” and will conduct an investigation. The dead seals have tested positive for avian flu and phocine distemper.
  • In an effort to stop poaching, the State of Massachusetts is doubling fines for “noncriminal fishing violations,” which include activities such as landing undersized fish. Depending on the violation, noncriminal fines will now be a minimum of $100. The Cape Cod Times reports that “Environmental police officers will also be able to hand out a supplementary $10-per-fish fine on top of the noncriminal fines.” Fines for criminal fishing violations will also be updated and some obsolete violations will be eliminated. The changes come from the passage of the Environmental Bond Bill in August.
  • Seaside Sustainability and Salem Sound Coastwatch have received grant money from Cell Signaling Technology to trap and remove green crabs from local mud flats. Green crabs are an invasive species and threaten the survival of soft-shell clams, oysters, and local habitats. The green crabs that get caught are killed for use as bait.
  • The North Atlantic right whale found off of Martha’s Vineyard last week likely died from entanglement and drowning, according to a necropsy conducted by IFAW scientists. The whale was a young male, estimated to be about 1.5 years old. Sarah Sharp, an IFAW veterinarian, told the Cape Cod Times, “If [younger whales] get entangled, they can’t get up to the surface to breathe.” This is the second recorded death for right whales in U.S. waters this year.

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