In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, January 3

A close-up of a crinoid illustrates the pinnules on the long arms used to filter food from the water. Image courtesy Northeast Canyons 2013 Science Team/NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program.

  • A Rhode Island judge upheld a decision from the South Kingston Board of Review that allows the continued utilization of land in a residential zone to support an aquaculture business. Through the ruling, the judge thereby accepted that oysters qualify as a form of livestock. An appeal of the Board’s decision was originally filed by neighboring residents who “complained about noise from [the] shellfishing operation and increasing traffic to and from the dock.” Read more in the Providence Journal
  • Last week, a federal court of appeals unanimously upheld the designation of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. WBUR reported, “The appeals panel brushed aside arguments that federal law governing monuments applies only land, not oceans; that the area of the ocean is not ‘controlled’ by the federal government; that it is not compatible National Marine Sanctuaries Act; and that it is not the ‘smallest area compatible’ with management goals.” Conservation groups applauded the decision.
  • A draft research plan from the federal government details the threats that ocean acidification poses to U.S. fisheries and the economy. According to the plan, the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions’ vulnerability to ocean acidification is high to medium-high. New England’s extremely lucrative scallop fishery, for example, is among those fisheries that are vulnerable. Scientific American reports, “The 172-page draft research plan draws on hundreds of studies and describes how NOAA will continue to analyze ocean acidification in the 2020s as part of a congressional mandate.”
  • A recent Boston Globe article details the lobster industry’s continued opposition to proposed measures to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales. After Maine reversed its position on the Atlantic Large Whale Taken Reduction Team’s plan for minimizing threats to right whales, the state proposed its own plan that would reduce buoy lines in the water by about 25 percent, among other measures. Some industry members are opposed to both the federal and state plans, and members of the Maine congressional delegation want federal regulators to give more weight to Canada’s responsibilities in the matter. Conservation groups say it’s still not enough. Erica Fuller from Conservation Law Foundation told the Boston Globe, “It’s disappointing that Maine has continued to backtrack. We are in the midst of an extinction crisis, and the agency cannot let politics and money get in the way of saving this iconic species.” Read more here.

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