In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, October 18

A large white shark encountered off Massachusetts. Photo credit: Greg Skomal (via NOAA Fisheries).

  • Congressman Joe Cunningham of South Carolina introduced the Climate-Ready Fisheries Act of 2019 in the House of Representatives this week. According to a press release from the Congressman’s office, the bipartisan legislation directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to evaluate ongoing efforts to address the impacts of climate change on fisheries and “provide recommendations for how we can better adapt fishery management, and prepare fishing industries and communities for the impacts of climate change. It also directs the GAO to offer recommendations for how Congress can enhance our nation’s science and management systems to better address climate change.”
  • A potentially damaging species of crab has made an appearance in Maine waters. The smooth mud crab, usually found in waters south of Cape Cod, was found in the New Meadows River in West Bath, ME. As the AP reports, the crab species “can pose problems for aquaculture businesses because they prey on young oysters – a species of high economic value that is grown in Maine.”
  • A long-awaited for report on shark detection and deterrence on Cape Cod was released. The report is informed by a study that included a survey of 573 respondents. As the Cape Cod Times reports, over half of the respondents want a technological solution to address sharks on the Cape, though this was not the report’s recommendation. The report concluded: “Since no mitigation alternative can provide 100% safety, reducing the chances of unprovoked attacks on humans requires a strong commitment to education and outreach.”
  • A research fellow at UMass Amherst, Amanda Davis, has designed a study to explore “name bias” in seafood choices. Davis is focusing on five local species: cod, dogfish, haddock, hake, and pollock. Study participants will have two taste tests for the fish – one blind, one not – and will be asked to rate the fishes’ appearance, color, aroma, flavor, and texture. Davis wants to know if the answers will differ when participants know what they are eating. Read more here.
  • In an effort to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales, Maine’s Department of Marine Resources has proposed to remove 25% of lobster buoy lines in federal waters – though the agency is unsure how much line that actually means. DMR has also proposed requiring use of rope that breaks in the event of entanglement and additional reporting and gear marking. The plan will impact a minority of Maine lobstermen because most are only licensed to fish in state waters. Erica Fuller, Senior Attorney at Conservation Law Foundation said, “It’s not clear that Maine’s draft plan will adequately reduce the risk of right whale entanglements. Maine is long overdue to mark fishing gear and require 100 percent reporting, but those measures do nothing to reduce risk.”

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