In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, March 29

Kemp's ridley turtles are a small, grayish-green sea turtle species found along the U.S. east coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. Image via NOAA/NMFS.

  • NOAA Fisheries announced a target at-sea monitoring coverage level of 31 percent for all groundfish sector trips in fishing year 2019. Using Congressional appropriations, NOAA Fisheries will reimburse 100 percent of industry at-sea monitoring costs. The new fishing year begins May 1.
  • NOAA Fisheries, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance signed a 10-year Memorandum of Understanding “to collaborate on the science and process of offshore wind energy development on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf.” The Responsible Offshore Development Alliance is membership-based coalition of fishing industry associations and companies. The MOU focuses on responsible planning, siting and development of offshore wind as well as coordination with fishing interests. BOEM Acting Director Walter Cruickshank said, “Any development of the Outer Continental Shelf must consider how these activities can affect current ocean users and the marine environment…We look forward to working with NOAA and RODA through early and constant communication to ensure that the most recent information is available to decision makers.”
  • This winter, volunteers recovered 829 cold-stunned sea turtles on the beaches of Cape Cod, nearly double the amount found in 2016 and 10 times more than 2008. Unfortunately, about half of those recovered this year had already died. The turtles come to the Gulf of Maine for food but are weakened as the waters cool. Scientists have found that there are more strandings in years with warmer sea-surface temperatures, but some also believe that there are more strandings simply because there are more sea turtles as a result of increased protections.
  • Lobstermen are among a group of Maine residents who filed a petition with the Department of Marine Resources asking for “an immediate, statewide moratorium on pending [aquaculture] lease applications bigger than 10 acres.” The petition is in response to a proposed 40-acre oyster farm in Maquoit Bay in Brunswick. Sebastian Belle, executive director of the Maine Aquaculture Association told the Portland Press Herald that the petitioners are using local fishermen to drum up opposition to the project and that current law already prohibits new leases in places with active commercial fisheries.

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