Tag Archives: Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission

Northern shrimp fishery faces potential permanent closure

Regulators are considering a permanent closure of the northern shrimp fishery off the coast of Maine and New Hampshire. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Northern Shrimp Section met in Portland last week to discuss several issues related to the northern shrimp. There has not been a northern shrimp fishing season in the Gulf of Maine since 2013. A moratorium was placed on the fishery because the shrimp population collapsed. >click to read< 07:37

Atlantic menhaden not overharvested, fisheries commission concludes

An updated menhaden population assessment that takes into account the ecological role of the species as a popular food for other fish deems the coastwide stock to be in good shape. The latest assessment, presented to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Aug. 3, incorporates data collected through last year. It concluded that “overfishing is not occurring, and the stock is not considered overfished.” But even with the new methodology, the latest assessment concluded the overall stock was healthy, a finding immediately touted by the Menhaden Fisheries Coalition, a group representing commercial harvesters. >click to read< 10:26

Annual fisheries meeting tackles lobster lawsuits, whale protections

Tuesday in Washington D.C., key players from Maine’s lobster fishery tackled what it considers its most pressing issues. The first issue was an update regarding Judge James Boasberg’s July ruling in the U.S. District Court case involving the Center for Biological Diversity versus Secretary Raimondo and the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. This case made the news in early July after Boasberg ruled regulators aren’t doing enough to protect the right whale. Just days after, he sided with environmental groups in another lawsuit to allow Area 1 to close again to fishermen this coming fall and winter. Another issue was a proposal to shrink the size limit for lobsters over the course of five years in order to replenish the declining population of young lobsters. Also, reduced boat speeds and the future of ropeless lobster traps. >click to read< 20:15

Maine lobster industry may receive nearly $14 million in federal aid

U.S. Reps. Jared Golden and Chellie Pingree, both Democrats from Maine, helped secure the funding and pledged to keep advocating for the fishery. In a statement, Golden called the regulations misguided, indefensible and economically damaging. “NOAA has been unable to prove that these regulations will work, but lobstermen are still being forced to pick up the tab,” he said. “It’s just wrong.” Virginia Olsen, director of the Maine Lobstering Union, said the money will help keep fishermen in business as they “work to right the wrongs” of the new regulations. Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, agreed. >click to read< 19:58

Lincoln County a Growing Force in Maine’s Elver Fishery

The elver fishery is the second most valuable fishery in Maine despite its brief season, lasting only 11 weeks from March 22 to June 7. Recent years have seen annual income generated by the fishery exceed $20 million. And from a per pound perspective, it easily tops lobsters as the most lucrative fishery in the state, and possibly in the country. The demand for elvers is driven by the overseas market where baby eels are grown to size in specially designed aquaculture facilities for use in Asian cuisine. Once mature, the eels are also processed and shipped back to the U.S. where they are a popular dish on sushi menus. While still in its infancy, U.S. based eel aquaculture is poised to be another factor in the fishery. photos, >click to read< 15:24

Maine lawmakers approve bill to limit number of pogie fishing licenses

Under a bill passed by the Maine Legislature on Wednesday, the state’s pogie fishery will be closed to all fishermen in 2023 except current license holders who meet certain criteria. To be eligible, fishermen must have held a license to fish for pogies in at least two of three years from 2019-21 and have landed 25,000 pounds in at least one of those years. Those who have the required license history but have not yet met the landings requirement have until the end of 2022 to harvest 25,000 pounds. >click to read< 15:43

DMR brings news of declining young lobsters, resiliency measures to local lobstermen

“We’re not talking about whales.” Those were among the first words from Kathleen Reardon, lead biologist for the Maine DMR, to lobstermen at Stonington Town Hall on March 31. Both ongoing lawsuits and legislation aimed at protecting right whales from entanglement with lobster trap lines have delayed lobster stock assessments and analysis. But now lobster councils are meeting across the state to hear about a draft addendum to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission lobster management plan for the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank, where 90 percent of U.S. landings are. The ASMFC manages near-shore fisheries for 15 states, including Maine. The draft addendum would affect Lobster Management Areas 1 and 3 and off Cape Cod as well as Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.  >click to read< 16:37

Maine: Lobstermen could soon face another new gear regulation

Patrick Keliher, Commissioner of the state’s Department of Marine Resources, says recent research shows that the number of juvenile lobster floating in the water column or settling to the bottom is declining for a third year in a row. Now Keliher says that lobstermen should also consider another new rule to create a “trigger” mechanism for reducing the catch of juvenile lobster when their abundance falls below a certain level. Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, on Tuesday told members of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission that fishermen will be “in shock” when they learn about the potential new rule. >click to read< 07:01

Recreational fishermen get bigger cut of fluke

Changes have been made to the fluke quotas that will mean slightly more fish for recreational anglers. One of the last joint actions of the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Marine Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission was to shift 5% of the quota to the recreational side. The move won’t go into effect until 2023. When it does the new harvest allotment will be divided up 55% commercial to 45% recreational. Previously, the commercial sector was given 60% of the coastwide harvest of fluke, an allocation that was set in the mid-1990s. >click to read< 19:13

Lobstermen fear offshore tracking data would be used against them

An arm of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is considering implementing the tracking requirements on federally-permitted lobster and Jonah crab fishermen in order to collect data on where and how they fish. “As these uses are developing in their discussions about how to divvy up that ocean space, it will be really critical to understand where the important fishing grounds are for the U.S. lobster fishery so those can be maintained,” said Caitlin Starks, a fishery management plan coordinator at the commission. >click to read< 08:22 What bullshit this is.

Electronic Monitoring: Hearings set for new electronic lobster boat tracking rules

An arm of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is considering implementing the tracking requirements for lobster and Jonah crab boats that have federal permits. A Jan. 19 hearing will be held via webinar and in person at the Urban Forestry Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The other hearings will be held virtually. Others are slated for mid-Atlantic states, Maine and Massachusetts and Rhode Island. >click to read< 16:15

New Regulations for Whelk and Horseshoe Crabs a Challenge for Commercial Fisheries

New state regulations intended to rebuild the whelk and horseshoe crab populations in the Long Island Sound could substantially limit the catches of local fisherman. Davis said that the department had done surveys trawling different areas of the Long Island Sound each year. Asked about the proposed regulations, Bob Guzzo, a commercial fisherman out of Stonington who catches whelk, said he thought the regulations were unnecessary, and that the department shouldn’t be involved in making them. He said that the whelks come and go in cycles. Guzzo said he believed the trawl surveys were inaccurate. >click to read< 14:16

CT DEEP Proposing New Rules For Lobster, Striped Bass, Others – The proposed regulatory changes are intended to address the “depleted state of these ecologically and economically important species in Long Island Sound,” according to DEEP officials. >click to read< 17:02

Surge in baitfish catch is a boon to Maine’s lobstermen

Maine’s lobster fishermen typically bait their traps with dead herring, but a scientific assessment in 2020 found that herring are overfished, and quotas for the fish were reduced dramatically. The loss of herring has increased the price of bait and made it harder for many fishermen to trap lobsters. However, losing herring has been offset somewhat by swelling catches of menhaden. Maine’s catch of menhaden, also called pogies or bunker, grew from about 6 million pounds in 2016 to more than 24 million pounds last year. >click to read< 11:28

Electronic Monitoring: Who Gets to Use Our Oceans?

Much of the current effort to create coordinated planning for use of our oceans started in 2010, when President Obama issued an executive order that called for the development of “coastal and marine spatial plans.” The idea is to figure out where to put things like aquaculture and wind farms without harming other things such as fisheries. In early August, the ASMFC announced that it’s considering a plan to require electronic tracking devices on federally permitted vessels that operate in American lobster and Jonah crab fisheries. Most of the lobster fishermen to be impacted are in Maine, and while they’ve expected the tracking plan to go into motion for some time now, Porter says, “there will be some seriously pissed-off lobstermen when this actually hits the ground.” >click to read< 09:21

Electronic Monitoring of the Lobster fishery, Tracking of the Red Shrimp fishery to be imposed

America’s lobster fishing businesses could be subjected to electronic tracking requirements to try to protect vulnerable right whales and get a better idea of the population of the valuable crustaceans. The fishery has collapsed in southern New England, however. Fishermen from New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island were once a significant part of the fishery,,, >click to read<The American red-spotted shrimp fishery may be subject to electronic tracking requirements to protect vulnerable right whales and better understand precious crustacean populations. However, fishing has collapsed in southern New England. Fishermen in New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island used to be an important part of the fishing industry, Starks said, but the stock of red-spotted shrimp in southern New England is now depleted. Scientists have linked the collapse of fishing in southern New England to warming seawater. >click to read< 10:50

Commercial Atlantic Sea Herring Fishery in Management Area 1A to Close

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has projected that the Management Area 1A Atlantic herring fishery will have harvested 92% of its Season I (June 1 – September 30) quota allocation by August 3, 2021. Accordingly, effective at 0001 hours on Tuesday, August 3, 2021, the directed Atlantic sea herring fishery in Management Area 1A will close through September 30, 2021. Unless explicitly authorized, the possession, retention, landing, and sale of Atlantic sea herring taken from Area 1A is prohibited during this closed period. >click to read< 1645

Time to apply for second round of CARES Act relief

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries mailed applications to seafood processers, wholesalers, commercial fishermen and aquaculture farmers on Tuesday, officially opening the state’s second round of CARES Act relief for fisheries. The funds are intended to mitigate the financial impacts on marine fisheries participants that suffered more than a 35% loss of revenue due to the pandemic. >click to read< 10:11

Mass, R.I. Public Hearing: Summer Flounder, Scup, Black Sea Bass Commercial/Recreational Allocation Amendment

Might want to get this out there- it’s going to be important the industry get involved. Tell the Council status quo! Comments may be submitted at any of five virtual public hearings to be held between February 17 and March 2, 2021 or via written comment until March 16, 2021. Wednesday, February 17, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.: Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Thursday, February 18, New Jersey, Wednesday, February 24, Delaware and Maryland, Monday, March 1, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.: Virginia and North Carolina, Tuesday, March 2, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.: Connecticut and New York >click to read< 16:10

Public Hearings for Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Commercial/Recreational Allocation Amendment

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission) are seeking public comment on the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Commercial/Recreational Allocation Amendment. Comments may be submitted at any of five virtual public hearings to be held between February 17 and March 2, 2021 or via written comment until March 16, 2021. >click to read, click for links< 12:41

Mid-Atlantic Council Flirts With Overfishing

The relationship between the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) and overfishing goes back a long way. In 1999, the Council adopted a summer flounder quota that had just an 18 percent probability of preventing overfishing, an action that led to the landmark court decision in Natural Resources Defense Council v. Daley, which established the principal that, to pass legal muster, a fishery management measure must have at least a 50 percent probability of achieving its conservation goals. Immediately after the court handed down that decision, the Council divorced itself from any management measure that might condone overfishing, and spent nearly two decades successfully rebuilding and conserving once-overfished stocks. At one point in the early 2010s, it was the only one of the eight regional fishery management councils that had completely ended overfishing, and didn’t preside over any overfished stocks. >click to read< 14:36

A Final 2020 DMR Update from Commissioner Pat Keliher

As 2020 slowly draws to a close, I’d like to share with you one last monthly update on the work of Maine DMR before we close the books on a year of challenges. Pat. New England Fishery Management Council actions,,, DMR has been auditing the data collected through the CARES Act application process,, Additional coronavirus relief has been approved by Congress however it is much too early,,, much more, >click to read< 12:20

Lobster stock levels remain high in Gulf of Maine, but there is cause for concern

The “now” looks solid for local commercial lobster fishery, based on findings reported in the 2020 Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Lobster Benchmark Stock Assessment, which reported the stock at “record high abundance levels.” The good news continued,, The news for southern New England, including southern Maine, remained poor, with a depleted fishery and no signs of resurgence. The research was conducted by several organizations, including the Department of Marine Resources, Gulf of Maine Research Institute and the University of Maine’s Sea Grant program and Lobster Institute. The assessment, released in October, was based on surveys conducted from 2016 through 2018. However, once the research turns to lobster settlements the future does not look as bright. >click to read< 18:29

CARES Act Funding Available for Maryland Fishing Industry

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces applications will be available Nov. 4 for economic relief funds for the commercial seafood industry through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), for those who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The application will be available to eligible members of the seafood industry on the Maryland OneStop website. The deadline to apply is Feb. 28, 2021. >click to read< 16:20

The CARES Act: Lengthy Process, Little to Show for Connecticut Fisheries

Nearly seven months after the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law, eligible fisheries and related businesses can apply for $1.8 million in economic aid through the CARES Assistance to Fishery Participants (CAAFP) program. Connecticut is part of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), which also includes Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. From the $300 million, 31 entities received funding. Connecticut’s allocation was $1.8 million, the 9th lowest on the list. Rhode Island received $3.3 million,,, >click to read< 09:58

Maine: 1 in 3 Lobstermen got small Paycheck Protection Program loans

About $14.9 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, loans of less than $150,000 have been handed out to 1,358 Maine lobstermen, according to an analysis of newly released U.S. Small Business Administration data. That puts lobstermen ahead of full-service restaurants, real estate offices, beauty salons and home builders, which rounded out the top five Maine industries receiving small PPP loans. Maine’s $1.4 billion-a-year lobster industry – including those who buy, sell and process lobster as well as catch it – have received 1,495 forgivable PPP loans worth at least $24.2 million, so far. Fishermen got the lion’s share of the industry’s total PPP money, but only because they outnumber dealers, retailers and processors. Some dealers got loans of up to $1 million. >click to read< 07:15

Commercial Fisheries and Fishermen Can Apply for CARES Relief But Not Yet

On May 7, the Secretary of Commerce announced the allocation of $300 million in fisheries assistance funding provided to states, tribes, and territories with coastal and marine fishery participants who have been negatively affected by COVID-19. As a next step, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration will use these allocations to make awards to its partners – the interstate marine fisheries commissions, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands – to disburse funds to address direct or indirect fishery-related losses as well as subsistence, cultural or ceremonial impacts related to COVID-19. But relief may take some time. No funds have yet been made available to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission or states. The N.J. Department of Environmental Protection staff is working diligently to develop a spending plan and application process that must be approved by NOAA. >click to read< 11:07

CARES Act Stimulus: Funding process for Florida Keys fishermen slowly unfolds

Both commercial and for-hire fishermen in the Florida Keys hit hard by the economic shutdown spurred by the novel coronavirus may apply to receive a portion of $23.6 million allocated to the state through the CARES Act Stimulus. Of the $300 million slugged for federal fisheries’ assistance, Florida is to receive about 12.7%, or the fourth largest share behind Alaska, Washington and Massachusetts. While Capt. Bill Kelly, executive director of the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association, says the Keys fisheries have been slighted, he remains optimistic about the upcoming lobster season. NOAA will administer the funds through the interstate marine fisheries arms. For here, that’s the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which will, in turn, contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to identify and establish a plan for fishermen to apply for funds. >click to read< 11:44

Chesapeake Bay’s menhaden catch cut drastically, along with Omega Protein quota

Virginia is cutting this year’s Chesapeake Bay menhaden catch by more than 80% from last year’s landings in order to end a federal moratorium.
Federal fisheries officials said they’d bar fishing for menhaden in the Bay this year — as long as the fish were headed for Omega Protein’s fish oil and fishmeal plant in Reedville — because the state had not enacted a 41.5% cut to 51,000 tons in Omega’s quota, which had been imposed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission in 2017. But the Atlantic States commission has not found that menhaden were overfished. “To be perfectly clear, there is no conservation basis for the Chesapeake Bay cap. No scientific methodology was used in setting the Chesapeake Bay cap by the ASMFC, ,,, >click to read< 15:35

Court Finds American Lobster Fishery Requires Incidental Take Statement for Impacts on North Atlantic Right Whale

As commercial fisheries across the United States continue to adjust operations in the face of new legal requirements, such as the shift from single-species to ecosystem-based management, one challenge in particular has dominated the courts: the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Recent court decisions have vacated commercial longline fishing permits in federal waters off the coast of California that could endanger the Pacific leatherback sea turtle and restored prohibitions on gillnet fishing gear in a known New England feeding ground for the endangered North Atlantic right whale. This trend continued on April 9, when a federal district court judge in Center for Biological Diversity,,,The American lobster fishery is managed cooperatively by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and NMFS,  >click to read< 14:45

Coronavirus affecting Maine fisheries

As of early Wednesday morning, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention had yet to report a single confirmed or presumed case of COVID-19, the respiratory infection caused by the coronavirus, in eastern Maine, but the lobster industry is already feeling the impacts of the global pandemic. “The market is really poor,” Stonington lobsterman Hilton Turner said Tuesday afternoon.,, The uncertainties arising from the coronavirus will likely affect other fisheries. The state’s elver fishing season opens on Sunday, and virtually the entire harvest is shipped to buyers in China. >click to read< 10:19