In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, November 22

The colorful kelp forest atop Cashes Ledge flows in the ocean current. Photo credit: Brian Skerry.

  • As the Gulf of Maine warms, New England’s shrimp fishery continues to struggle. The AP reports that the sea bottom temperature in the Gulf of Maine rose to 45 degrees this summer, 3 degrees above the recent average. This increase is particularly an issue for young shrimp and recruitment into the fishery. The fishery has been closed due to low population levels since 2013 and will remain closed until at least 2021.
  • Kelp, once dominating the seaweed cover off southern Maine, is vanishing and being replaced by “low, scrubby, invasive seaweeds” as the Gulf of Maine warms. The disappearance of kelp is a major concern because its an important habitat and refuge for myriad marine species. One study of a 100-square mile area off Maine and New Hampshire found that there are already fewer fish in areas where this new seaweed has taken over. By comparison, the Portland Press Herald reports, “On Cashes Ledge, a submerged mountain range 80 miles southeast of Portland with a massive kelp forest, researchers from Brown University have found that the total fish mass density is 305 times greater than at sites around the Isles of Shoals, where kelp has largely disappeared.” Read more here.
  • Five offshore wind leaseholders teamed up to propose a uniform turbine layout that provides 1-nautical mile of spacing in between each turbine “consistent with the requests of the region’s fisheries industry and other maritime users.” The proposal was submitted to the U.S. Coast Guard to address four main concerns: navigation safety, fishing community requests, creation of transit corridors, and facilitation of search and rescue operations. According to a Boston Globe article, however, many fishermen are saying that the proposal is still not enough.
  • With growing concerns about mislabeled fish, the New Bedford seafood company Nordic Inc. is hoping to provide its customers with more confidence about its scallops. The company has teamed up with IBM and a Fall River fish processor to provide a scannable “QR code on your restaurant menu [to] see exactly where the scallops were caught, when, and by whom.” Read more here.
  • A recent study led by researchers at Northeastern University “found that psychological distress and social disruption [are] pervasive throughout New England fishing communities” following the failure of the Gulf of Maine cod fishery. The study, based on six years of surveys and interviews with groundfish permit holders, stressed the importance of managing social impacts, including human well-being, in the fisheries management process.

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