In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, March 8

Herring Management Areas. Image via GARFO.

  • Published in the Federal Register this week, NOAA Fisheries proposed to approve 20 groundfish sectors and certain regulatory exemptions for the 2019 and 2020 fishing years. This includes proposed approval of a new sector as well as preliminary 2019 annual catch entitlements for approved sectors. NOAA Fisheries says, “Approval of sector operations plans and contracts is necessary to allocate catch entitlements to the sectors and for the sectors to operate.” Comments on the proposed rule are being accepted through March 22, 2019.
  • Maine lobstermen caught 120 million pounds of lobster in 2018 valued at $484 million – a $46 million increase from 2017. Lobstermen caught 112 million pounds in 2017. The Bangor Daily News reports, “The increases help to reverse a drop in value of more than $100 million in Maine’s annual dockside lobster landings in Maine from 2016 to 2017.” Scallop harvest in Maine, however, dropped 37 percent in 2018. The fishery remains lucrative, though, netting $5.9 million in 2018.
  • Congressman Moulton (MA) reintroduced the SAVE the Right Whale Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill, co-authored by Congressman Rutherford (FL), would fund research to help protect and restore the right whale population. In a testimony before a subcommittee of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Moulton said, “We humans have nearly killed every right whale in existence through our direct and indirect actions over the past two centuries. Today we are at a crossroads. We can be the generation that saves the right whale or the generation that allows their extinction. Let’s not miss this unique moment. Let’s be the generation that brings the right whale back from the brink.”
  • NOAA Fisheries is closing the directed fishery for Herring Management Area 2 (south of Cape Cod to southern North Carolina) and implementing a 2,000 pound trip limit. Projections show that 92% of the catch limit for the area has been harvested. The closure is effective March 9 – December 31, 2019.
  • NOAA Fisheries is having to alter its permitting process to accommodate the 35-day federal government shutdown. The agency “will accept fishing permit applications for the upcoming season even if they include expired or un-issued Coast Guard certificates of documentation,” reports the Gloucester Daily Times. Such applications will be accepted until the start of the new season on May 1.

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