In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, March 22

Gulf of Maine cod are not on track to rebuild by 2024. Image via NEFSC/NOAA.

  • According to data from the Maine Department of Marine Resources, Maine’s cod fishery has plummeted to historic lows. In 2018, state fishermen caught about 89,000 pounds of cod valued at $200,000. That is the lowest value since 1967 and the second-lowest volume in history. WBUR reports, “The numbers reflect a broader trend in U.S. cod fishing…Scientists have attributed the decline of cod catch in Maine, Massachusetts and other states to years of overfishing, as well as possible environmental factors.”
  • The annual river herring migration is fast approaching in New England and towns are looking for volunteers to help count the fish. A NOAA Fisheries biologist told the Gloucester Daily Times, “The river herring are an important forage fish for several species of other marine life that are important to this community, such as seabirds, marine mammals and predatory fish such as cod, striped bass and blue fish.” See here and here for more information on volunteer opportunities in Massachusetts.
  • Jonah crab landings increased more than 14 million pounds between 1994 and 2017, most of which came from Massachusetts waters. Now, NOAA Fisheries is proposing regulations for a Jonah crab fishery at the request of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. The Commission already created a Jonah crab management plan in 2015. According to the Gloucester Daily Times, NOAA Fisheries’ proposed rule “allow[s] commercial lobster trap permit holders to harvest an unlimited amount of Jonah crabs. Commercial non-trap lobster permit holders would be permitted to land up to 1,000 Jonah crabs per trip, as long as the weight of the crabs represented no more than 50 percent of the total catch weight onboard the vessel.”
  • The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commission voted to increase annual quota for summer flounder and change how it is divided among states. The Day reports, “While states will continue to receive allocations based on their historic landings up to 9.55 million pounds, landings after that will be divided equally among mid-Atlantic and southern New England states.” As a result, Connecticut fishermen will see a 77 percent quota increase by 2020.


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