Tagged essential fish habitat

Celebrating 20 Years of Essential Fish Habitat Policy

The year 2016 marks a few noteworthy anniversaries: the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, and Star Trek’s 50th birthday! And in the world of fisheries policy, perhaps the most significant anniversary – apart from the 40th anniversary of the Magnuson-Stevens Act celebrated earlier this month, of course – is the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Essential Fish Habitat policy. … More Info »

Sorry, No Local Cod Today, Tomorrow, or Anytime Soon

Last Friday, NOAA scientists informed the New England Fishery Management Council that the most recent assessment of Gulf of Maine cod indicated that the cod were, well, collapsed would be putting it mildly. They estimated the numbers of breeding cod to be only at 3-4% of the target levels. That’s likely well less than 2% of the cod population that once dominated New England’s coastal waters. … More Info »

Habitat Protection Works for Now and for the Future

With the opportunity to extend and improve ocean habitat protections in the Omnibus Habitat Amendment (OHA), the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) should not bury its analysis in the practices and politics of the past, but look towards the very real needs of the present and future. But rather than moving deliberately to improve protection of Essential Fish Habitat and exercising precaution to protect large areas like other fishery management councils are doing, the NEFMC and even NMFS appear poised to promote a final Omnibus Habitat Amendment that will drastically reduce the extent of protected areas and allow trawling and other commercial fishing gear in areas that have served as refuge for innumerable species for nearly twenty years. … More Info »

Protecting essential fish habitat: Homes and nurseries

On May 29, the House Natural Resources Committee met to refine legislation reauthorizing and amending the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the primary law that governs fishing in U.S. ocean waters. This is vital work: Our oceans are one of our nation’s most valuable natural resources. And congressional leaders should capitalize on this opportunity by adding stronger protections for essential habitat that fish populations need to spawn and grow in a healthy marine ecosystem. … 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 »

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, May 23

In this week’s Fish Talk in the News, the FAO releases its State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture Report; river herring run across New England; NEFSC releases a new Ecosystem Advisory showing high sea surface temperatures; the NEFMC releases the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Omnibus Habitat Amendment; a new NOAA report shows the importance of shallow-water bottom habitat; volunteers count horseshoe crabs; Maine indefinitely closes part of the lower Penobscot to lobster fishing due to mercury contamination; a Maine lobsterman is charged for possessing undersized lobsters; Duxbury’s oyster farms thrive; Jon Grabowski develops a framework to evaluate fishing gear impacts on habitat types; sand lance return to Stellwagen and bring humpback whales with them. … More Info »

Head in the Sand: Industry Steams in Full Reverse on Need for Habitat Protection

With this developing tragedy as a backdrop, the New England Fishery Management Council this week undertakes its first major step in defining protection for vulnerable ocean habitat – the same habitat that our depleted groundfish need if they are ever to recover. The decisions of the Council and NMFS on the pending Omnibus Habitat Amendment will be critical to the future ecological and commercial health and resilience of our ocean and will provide an indication of the seriousness with which our fisheries and ocean managers take this impending crisis. … More Info »

A Squandered Opportunity for Habitat Protection

The New England Fisheries Management Council is struggling to effectively manage significantly depleted stocks like cod, yellowtail flounder and Gulf of Maine haddock while simultaneously coping with unprecedented changes to the ocean environment caused by climate change. These challenges cry out for long term strategies designed to protect and stabilize ocean habitat and buffer against climate impacts. Why, then, is the NEFMC on the verge of squandering an opportunity to employ such critical strategies in its long-awaited fish habitat protection plan? … More Info »

Help Protect New England’s Cod Habitat

The public has until July 26th to submit comments on a proposed rule that would open nearly 3000 square miles of protected habitat to destructive commercial trawling. Click through to see an infographic for more information and to take action. … More Info »

Almost Too Ugly for Words: A Sordid Case of Fishery Council Inaction

An extraordinary milestone was achieved last month in the middle of an otherwise unremarkable meeting of the New England Fisheries Management Council. After fifteen years of foot dragging, delaying and doing as little as possible to comply with legal requirements that it protect the habitat of the fisheries that it manages, the New England Fishery Management Council finally developed and voted to further analyze for final vote in November a potentially meaningful set of proposed habitat protection measures known as the Omnibus Habitat Amendment. This might have been cause for celebration if not for the fact that this required step was largely forced upon an irresponsible Council by the National Marine Fisheries Service. … More Info »