Mass DMF gets an earful from conch fishermen, David Pierce mentions squid trawling

Officials from the Division of Marine Fisheries on their annual rounds to inform fishermen of proposed regulations for 2017 held a public hearing at the Katharine Cornell Theater in Tisbury on Wednesday morning. A lengthy agenda cast a wide net on changes in proposed limits to finfish and shellfish, but the most spirited debate by far was over a proposed increase to the minimum size of channel whelk and knob whelk, often referred to as “conch,” for this year. DMF director David Pierce and deputy director Dan McKiernan moderated the discussion. Local fishermen portended dire economic circumstances if the current minimum size, measured at the shell’s widest point, is increased from 3 inches to 3 3⁄16 inches. DMF officials countered that without the increase, the future of the conch fishery, the most valuable fishery on Martha’s Vineyard, will be in serious jeopardy in a matter of years. Prior to the start of the public hearing, DMF director David Pierce said that while on vacation on Martha’s Vineyard last year, he picked up a copy of The MV Times and read the Sept. 7 story, “Squid trawlers leave a wake of death south of Martha’s Vineyard” that described the miles of dead by-catch — mostly squid and scup — left behind by squid trawlers operating just outside the three-mile state limit south of Martha’s Vineyard. Read the story here 17:04