In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, May 31

Atlantic salmon in a Maine river. Image via NOAA Fisheries.

  • The 2018 Atlantic sea scallop season ended on March 31, and NOAA initially estimates that 60.1 million pounds of scallops were landed. Travis Ford, NOAA’s sea scallops fishery manager, told National Fisherman, “This is 107 percent of the projected landings for fishing year 2018, but that does not represent an overage of any type.” One reason for the higher landings is that the Omnibus Habitat Amendment reopened previous closed areas to scallopers.
  • Lobstermen are already concerned about another potential quota cut for herring – a key bait source. A recent herring assessment showed that recruitment into the fishery is low, so managers greatly reduced quota in 2019 to avoid overfishing. Fishery managers will soon discuss maintaining the current quota or making another cut for 2020. As bait supply decreases, prices are expected to increase, which may be transferred to consumers. Senior Attorney at Conservation Law Foundation Erica Fuller told the Bangor Daily News, “We’re approaching a tipping point where we need to be careful not to lose all of our forage species at the same time.”
  • According to the Atlantic Salmon Federation, harvest of Atlantic salmon is at an all-time low and more adults returned to North American rivers in 2018, but it’s still not enough. A report titled, “State of the North American Atlantic Salmon Populations” reports that the spawning population is only at 3 percent of where it needs to be to sustain itself. In Maine, where salmon fishing is not allowed, only 769 salmon returned to the Penobscot River in 2018, which was slightly less than in 2017.
  • AquaBounty shipped its salmon eggs to a hatchery in Indiana to begin growing genetically engineered salmon for human consumption – a first in the United States. The fish grow faster than wild salmon, so they can reach the market in less time. The FDA approved the fish in 2015, but opponents are still concerned about potential human health impacts.

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