In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, May 17

Calanus finmarchicus. Image via NEFSC/NOAA.

  • NOAA Fisheries is seeking public comment on proposed 2019 recreational management measures for cod and haddock in New England. The Gulf of Maine cod recreational fishery is currently closed, but proposed measures would allow a daily possession of 1 fish at a minimum 21 inches. The measures also propose increasing the Gulf of Maine haddock daily possession limit from 12 to 15 fish (at min. 17 inches) and decreasing the minimum size limit for Georges Bank cod from 23 to 21 inches. The daily possession limit for Georges Bank cod would remain at 10 fish. The agency says, “The proposed measures are intended to ensure the recreational fishery achieves, but does not exceed, its fishing year 2019 catch limits.”
  • New research from the Bigelow Lab for Ocean Sciences shows that rapid warming in the Gulf of Maine basins is causing a decline of the copepod Calanus finmarchicus – the number one prey for North Atlantic right whales – by as much as 90 percent. Lead researcher Nick Record told the Portland Press Herald, “People had guessed that the right whales were leaving the eastern Gulf of Maine because of food, so this nailed that down and found some really strong links with climate-driven changes to ocean circulation. We know their migration patterns have changed, but we don’t know if they’ll lock into a new, predictable pattern now.” Read more here.
  • Maine Governor Janet Mills recently signed a bill into law that that helps lobstermen suffering from major illnesses to maintain their licenses. According to the AP, “The bill allows lobstermen who get a temporary medical waiver to fish on days they feel well enough to do so, and they can designate a qualified relative to fish using their license when they do not.” The bill was originally proposed by Rep. Jay McCreight of Harpswell.
  • NOAA Fisheries implemented 2019-2021 catch specifications for spiny dogfish as recommended by the New England and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Councils. To prevent overfishing, 2019 specifications will be reduced by 46%. In 2020 and 2021, however, specifications will be increased by 13% and 18%, respectively, to account for projected biomass increases.
  • A citizen science initiative of 86 citizen scientists looking for 53 different species found that only five species dominate New England seafood counters. WGBH reports, “The top five fish – cod, haddock, scallops, clams, and lobster – were found more than 50 percent of the time…and 30 species were found less than 10 percent of the time. The group that led the initiative has released a new cookbook to help introduce some new dishes called “Simmering the Sea: Diversifying Cookery to Sustain Our Fisheries.”


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