In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, August 30

A shortfin mako smiles for the camera. Image via NOAA/SWFSC.

  • In response to a request from a New England groundfish sector manager, NOAA Fisheries provided more details regarding the penalties for 17 former Carlos Rafael captains. The captains face suspensions and probationary periods ranging from 20 to 200 months and 12 to 36 months, respectively. During the probationary periods, vessels operated by the captains must follow several additional measures, such as “maintain a haul-by-haul log documenting the species and hail weights of fish caught and discarded on each haul, while serving as an operator.” The captain facing the longest suspension and probation is remembered for deliberately sinking his net during a Coast Guard boarding.
  • In other Codfather news, federal agents recently sold one of Rafael’s groundfish vessels in an online auction. The Lady Patricia, along with its permits for nine species, sold for $570,000. Undercurrent News reports, “The permits, in 2019, would allow for the catch of a combined 16,054 pounds of Atlantic cod; 24,397 lbs of winter flounder; 265,473 lbs of haddock; and 11,200 lbs of scallops to name a few.” The buyer was not identified.
  • The Fishing for Energy Program – a public-private partnership that helps fishermen dispose of old gear – is expanding. The program will utilize small grants so that port communities can establish recycling streams and new partnerships. A spokesperson for the program told Maine Public Radio that about 4 million pounds of fishing gear from 55 communities have been collected in the last ten years.
  • At a recent CITES meeting, countries agreed to three proposals that will protect more than a dozen shark and ray species. The measures will require sustainable trade of 18 types of mako sharks, wedgefishes, and guitarfishes. The AP reports, “The U.S. voted against the mako shark measure, but supported the other two.” Many applauded the decision because sharks are important apex predators in the ocean but increasingly face threats such as bycatch in fishing gear and warming waters.
  • An announcement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that it “is proposing to amend the national marine diesel engine program to provide relief to boat builders and manufacturers of lightweight and high-power marine diesel engines that are used in high-speed commercial vessels such as lobster boats and pilot boats.” According to a statement from the Maine Congressional Delegation, engines complaint with the EPA’s program are not currently available for lobster boats, which is why the wanted to find a solution. Read more here.
  • A large algae bloom has formed in Casco Bay off the coast of Maine. State officials are monitoring the bloom, which has been identified as Karenia mikimotoi. According to Maine DMR’s Bureau of Public Health, the Bangor Daily News reports, “it has no effect on human health and safety, either by swimming or eating seafood caught in the water…[but] if the bloom gets large enough, it can harm marine organisms.” A similar bloom formed in 2017 that potentially killed soft-shell clams.


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