Posted in Opinion

What’s Happened to All the Striped Bass?

For the past six years I’ve fished for striped bass a few days each fall off Montauk, Long Island, with charter boat Capt. John McMurray, a fellow Coast Guard veteran who is a member of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, which sets fishing policies in federal waters from New York to North Carolina. In the past, McMurray and I caught so many big bass on light tackle—a lightweight rod, reel, and line—that we lost count and returned to the dock exhausted. But in the last couple of years, unfortunately, it’s gotten harder to spot the fish. And on our most recent trip, we could hardly find any. I caught only one. … More Info »

With Menhaden Making a Comeback, Managers are at a Crossroads

It appears that we may soon get some promising news about the fish that’s sometimes called the most important one in the sea—the Atlantic menhaden. These small forage fish constitute a key part of the marine food web, and now the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is nearing completion of a new assessment of the stock. … More Info »

Miles Grant: Democrats’ “Us Too” Fishing Failure

Following up on Charlie Baker’s “fish tale,” a new blog post on Blue Mass Group from “Green Miles” Miles Grant focuses on New England fisheries and the poor political decisions that democrats have made in addressing the current issues. … More Info »

Sorry Charlie: The Real Problem with Baker’s Fish Story

It’s hard to see how Baker’s spotty recall of an encounter with a fisherman matters much. What matters about this fish story is that both major party candidates for governor have their facts wrong about the disastrous state of cod fishing in New England and neither seems willing to even confront reality, much less offer helpful solutions. … More Info »

Editorial: As codfish dwindle, communities need to reboot

The Boston Globe ran a strong editorial on the cod crisis, yesterday, calling for new thinking and stronger conservation in the Gulf of Maine fishing industry. For a fishing community that has repeatedly relied on federal disaster relief money, it is time fishermen and fisheries managers to alter their crisis response and take the necessary action that will address the problem at the source rather than ameliorate the economic side-effects. … More Info »

Former Chair of New England Fishery Council Urges Habitat Protection

“Don’t do it.” That’s Rip Cunningham’s three-word advice to his former colleagues on the New England Fishery Management Council, who are considering an end to protections for large areas set aside for fish habitat. … More Info »

Atlantic Forage Fish Need Public Oversight of the Industrial Trawl Fleet

Scientists and fishermen agree that the industrial midwater trawl fleet is taking a toll on many species on the Atlantic Coast. The massive nets of these vessels kill millions of river herring and, increasingly, the juveniles of some commercially important groundfish such as haddock. Unfortunately, an important action to rein in this damage is facing a substantial delay. … More Info »

The Beer-Reviewed Stock Assessment: A Fisheries Phenomenon

We’ve all heard about peer-reviewed stock assessments. That’s what you get when a team of biologists assesses the health of one stock of fish, and another panel of expert scientists, unrelated to the first, reviews that team’s work and determines whether it is good enough to use for fisheries management purposes. If it is, it represents a sort of “gold standard” for fisheries managers, who can then establish regulations based on the assessment, and be reasonably certain that they’re doing the right thing. However, if you go down to the docks, pick up a press release put out by one of the anglers’ rights groups or read some of the comments on Internet chat boards, you’ll find that a lot of people don’t give the peer-reviewed assessments, or the scientists who provide them, much weight. … More Info »

New England’s Fishing Pathology

The industrial herring fleet recently overshot its quota for the herring management area 1B by some 60%. Sixty percent! That is like driving 104 mph in a 65 mph speed zone. This incident—and particularly the herring fleet’s response to it—are symptomatic of a deeper pathology in some of New England’s fisheries that should not be allowed to just fade away as another bad memory of a poorly managed fishery. … More Info »

NOAA Marches to the Beat of Multiple Drummers on Habitat Protection

Sometimes it is hard to understand why agencies do the things they do. Are they just marching to an inaudible tune that somehow makes sense of the sum of their actions? Take the issue of habitat protection. On the one hand, NOAA has been monumentally important around the country by supporting the community-based restoration of coastal estuaries. But then the same agency turns around wearing its fisheries management hat and seems to be operating under a completely different set of principles. … More Info »