In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, November 1

North Atlantic right whales are in danger of going extinct in our lifetime. Photo: Steve Meese/Shutterstock.

  • On Monday, a federal judge ruled that the National Marine Fisheries Service violated federal law, including the Endangered Species Act, for failing to fully evaluate the impacts on North Atlantic right whales when it reopened two long-closed fishing grounds off Nantucket. The ruling is a victory for the right whale, which is on the brink of extinction. The agency was ordered to reinstate a ban on gillnet fishing in the two areas (Nantucket Lightship Groundfish Closure Area and the Closed Area 1 Groundfish Closure Area). Yesterday, the same federal judge ruled that another lawsuit aimed at protecting right whales can move forward.
  • NOAA Fisheries reopened the public comment period on the proposed rule for the New England Fishery Management Council’s Clam Dredge Framework because the link for submitting comments in the original comment period was wrong. To correct for any errors the link may have caused, comments will now be accepted through November 18, 2019.
  • Sen. Markey of Massachusetts and Sen. Sullivan of Alaska introduced the Ocean, Coastal, and Estuarine Acidification Necessitates (OCEAN) Research Act last week to support a healthy ocean and a healthy economy. According to a press release from Sen. Markey’s office, “The bill strengthens investment in research and monitoring of poorly-understood acidification processes in coastal and estuarine areas, and engages coastal communities and the seafood industry through an Advisory Board and collaborative research grants.”
  • Maine’s lobster catch is down 40% this year (about 50 million pounds), though there are still a few months left of data to calculate. One lobster captain said, “It was a wet, cold spring and the lobsters just never showed up.” High bait costs could have also impacted harvest according to state officials.

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