Tag Archives: deep-sea corals

Wake Up, Fishermen! Proposed closure of coral grounds in Gulf of Maine has lobster industry on edge

Over the past 10 years, the issue of how to protect endangered whales from getting tangled in fishing gear has been a driving factor in how lobstermen configure their gear and how much money they have to spend to comply with regulations. Now federal officials have cited the need to protect deep-sea corals in a proposal to close some areas to fishing — a proposal that, according to lobstermen, could pose a serious threat to how they ply their trade. “The [potential] financial impact is huge,” Jim Dow, a Bass Harbor lobsterman and board member with Maine Lobstermen’s Association, said Wednesday. “You’re talking a lot of the coast that is going to be affected by it.” The discovery in 2014 of deep-sea corals in the gulf, near Mount Desert Rock and along the Outer Schoodic Ridges, has prompted the New England Fisheries Management Council to consider making those area off-limits to fishing vessels in order to protect the coral from damage. According to Maine Department of Marine Resources, fishermen from at least 15 harbors in Hancock and Washington counties could be affected by the proposed closure. click here to read the story  Wake Up, Fishermen! 11:15:30

NMFS Announces Proposed Rule to Protect Deep-Sea Corals in the Mid-Atlantic

noaa nmfs logoOn September 26, 2016, NOAA Fisheries announced a proposed rule to designate a deep-sea coral protection area in the Mid-Atlantic. The area extends from the continental shelf/slope break off the Mid-Atlantic states (New York to North Carolina) to the border of the Exclusive Economic Zone.  If finalized, this proposed rule would be the first nationally to protect deep-sea corals under the new deep sea coral discretionary provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The public has until November 1 to comment on this proposed rule, either online or by mail. It should be noted that 11 years ago, the New England Fishery Management Council used the essential fish habitat provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act to protect deep-sea corals located in two offshore canyon areas (Lydonia and Oceanographer) through an amendment to the Monkfish Fishery Management Plan. “This would protect 15 deep-sea canyons in a total area of about 24 million acres, about the size of Virginia, or about 20 times the size of the Grand Canyon National Park,” said John Bullard, regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Region. Read the Proposed rule, request for comments here 17:01

Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council voted Wednesday to protect deep sea corals

The squid industry, which initially objected to many of the restrictions, worked with scientists and conservationists to establish boundaries for 15 discrete deepwater canyons and other sites where bottom fishing would be prohibited. And in the end, said Gregory P. DiDomenico, the executive director of the Garden State Seafood Association, he supported the broader area that overlaps most of the canyons. He said, “If we stay in business and protect corals, we’ve done our job.” Read the rest here 08:23

No vote to protect deep-sea corals off Va and Mid-Atlantic

Council members meeting in Raleigh, N.C., decided instead to postpone a final decision until its June meeting in Virginia Beach, giving them time to hold another workshop to gather more input from coastal fisheries. The council is considering several options to restrict fishing in “broad zones” of the Atlantic based on ocean depth and in “discrete zones” already known to contain valuable coral habitats. Several members said they believe they’re close to an agreement with commercial fisheries on discrete zone boundaries but that another workshop could seal the deal. Read the rest here 17:02

Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council looks at deep-sea restrictions

On Wednesday, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council likely will vote on a proposal to limit the use of bottom-fishing gear that is dragged along the ocean floor, often scouring the area of sea life. Any new limits would have to be approved by federal officials. Limits on fishing are often contentious, these even more so. They have drawn tens of thousands of comments – albeit most of them form letters prompted by environmental advocacy groups – from proponents who want the corals protected, Read the rest here 07:19