Tag Archives: Georges Bank

Series of coral protection hearings planned for New England

Federal fishery managers will hold a host of public hearings in New England and New York about a plan to protect corals in key East Coast fishing areas. The New England Fishery Management Council is hosting seven public hearings about alternatives it is considering about the protection of corals in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank. The hearings will take place from May 22 to 25 in Montauk, Narragansett, New Bedford, Gloucester, Portsmouth, and Ellsworth. There will also be a web-based hearing on May 26. The fishery council says it wants to collect feedback from fishermen and other stakeholders about the coral protection Link 21:28

Haddock Boom! The number of haddock believed to have survived their first year off N.S. is “extraordinary,” says biologist

Exactly how many of the haddock that hatched in 2013 are still swimming off the coast of southern Nova Scotia is not certain, but researchers agree the numbers are potentially massive. Biologist Monica Finley recently completed a population assessment for the southern Scotian Shelf and Bay of Fundy.  She estimates 264 million haddock were hatched there in 2013 and survived their first year, making it an “extraordinary” year-class. “This 2013 year-class is five times higher than the next highest on record since 1985,” said Finley, who works at a Department of Fisheries and Oceans research facility in St. Andrews, N.B. Her report predicts 100,000 metric tonnes of haddock will reach adulthood in 2017 and 2018. On Georges Bank, the population is predicted to be even bigger, with Canadian and American scientists estimating the 2013 hatch at 1.3 billion fish. Read the story here 18:36

Atlantic Cod: The Good, The Bad, and the Rebuilding – Part 1

Atlantic cod have been emblematic of fisheries problems, with the 1992 collapse of the Northern cod stock in Canada setting the stage for the last 25 years of concern surrounding status of cod stocks. Mark Kurlansky’s book “Cod” sold over a million copies, increasing awareness and concern over cod fisheries. Further, the two U.S. cod stocks continue to be at very low abundance; an article in the Houston Press released September of 2011 stated “Atlantic cod has been fished nearly to extinction.” However, over the entire Atlantic Ocean, the abundance of cod is high and increasing (Figure 1). There are over two dozen cod stocks that are defined as management units, 6 of which are addressed in this feature: 2 on the western side and 4 on the eastern side of the Atlantic basin (see Figure 2). The two U.S. stocks are Georges Bank and Gulf of Maine, and the four European stocks occupy the shelves of Iceland, the Barents Sea, the North Sea, the Celtic Sea, and the Baltic Sea. Read the article here 15:18

Moratorium on oil and gas activities on Canadian portion of Georges Bank in affect

759548_935404-CanadaOffshoreDriiii1The sustainability and health of one of North America’s most valuable marine ecosystems will be better protected thanks to ongoing collaboration between the governments of Canada and Nova Scotia. The Honourable Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, and his provincial counterpart, the Honourable Michel Samson, Minister of Energy for Nova Scotia, have enacted a statutory moratorium on oil and gas activities in the of Georges Bank. The moratorium took effect April 15. Georges Bank, a large submarine bank at the edge of the Atlantic continental shelf between Cape Cod and Nova Scotia, provides habitat for a wide range of marine fish, mammals and corals. As one of the world’s most productive fishing grounds, Georges Bank also supports important commercial fisheries. Read the rest here 15:53

Species groups follow patterns reacting to climate change on US northeast shelf

cod-fishResearchers studying marine fishery species grouped by similar depth and temperature distribution have found that those groups have similar responses to the effects of climate change. Interactions between individual species in those groups, however, may be affected by the amount of available habitat, predator-prey relationships, and competition for food resulting from shifts in range and distribution, the study says.  Gets interesting.  The study was conducted through a joint partnership between NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center and The Nature Conservancy, and was funded by a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation! Read it here 17:12

Gulf of Maine lobster stock at an all-time high

lobsterDM0811_468x521A recent lobster stock assessment shows the population of the state’s famous bottom-dwelling crustacean at record highs in the Gulf of Maine. Through data collected by fishery-dependent and fishery-independent sources, the stock assessment gives fishermen and scientists a picture of the condition of the economically important stock. According to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, the 2015 benchmark stock assessment for lobsters shows the stock of crustaceans in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank is not depleted and overfishing is not occurring. However, the situation for the stock in southern New England is far less clear,,, Read the article here 12:52

HELLO!!!! Canada approves offshore oil exploration near Maine

635851111775155143-oildrillingmap00000000Oil drilling near Maine’s coastline is causing some concern for fishermen and environmentalists. The government of Canada has given the go-ahead to a Norweigan oil company to look for oil near where water enters the Gulf of Maine. That’s just 225 miles from Bar Harbor and right next to the important fishing ground of George’s Bank. Oil drilling off Nova Scotia has happened for decades. What makes this exploration different is its proximity to one of New England’s most important fishing grounds. Read the article here 20:18

Oh No Canada. Nova Scotia approves oil exploration lease next to Georges Bank, entrance to Gulf of Maine

In a move opposed by fishermen, Canadian authorities have granted the company an exploratory lease for the area 225 miles southeast of Bar Harbor and bordering on the eastern flank of Georges Bank. Environmentalists fear drilling could leave the ecologically sensitive Gulf of Maine susceptible to a catastrophic oil spill. It would be the closest that exploratory drilling has come to Maine since the early 1980s. Five wells were drilled on the U.S. side of Georges Bank in 1981 and 1982, before U.S. and Canadian moratoriums were put in place to protect the fishing grounds. Read the article here 06:27

Georges Bank drilling moratorium extended by Nova Scotia government

The Nova Scotia government is extending the Georges Bank moratorium on oil and gas exploration and drilling. The fishing bank has been off limits since 1988. This extends the protection until at least 2022. Ottawa passed a similar protection bill last June. Such exploration comes under the joint jurisdiction of the provinces and federal government. BP and Chevron have drilling and exploration rights in the region, but will remain unable to use those leases. Read the article here 09:07

Shell approval for oil drilling off Nova Scotia raises alarms in fishing industry

The approval from the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board to allow Shell Canada to drill two oil wells on the edge of the Scotian Shelf is raising alarm bells among some in the fishing industry. “Four of those leases are directly in the major fishing banks of the Scotian Shelf,” said Davis, the former head of an anti-drilling group called the No Rigs Coalition. “Two are contiguous to the moratorium area of Georges Bank, two are to the northeast of Georges Bank and one takes in the southern part or heel of Browns Bank. The Scotian Shelf industry is under assault from the oil and gas industry.” Read the rest here 15:02

Northeast Fisheries Science Center say’s key fishing area for Atlantic cod in dire shape

New data from thecod-fish says research boats caught less of the fish this past spring than in all but one spring season dating back to 1968. A report from the centre, given to The Associated Press on Tuesday, states that the boats caught about 3.3 pounds of cod each time the net went in and out of the water last spring, compared to more than three times that amount two years earlier. “Is that coming as a surprise from anybody who knows what the water temperature is out there? No, it shouldn’t be,” said David Goethel, a New Hampshire-based fisherman. “These fish are declining because of climate change.” Read the rest here 22:13

Environmentalists are upset over NEFMC Georges Bank vote

stupid-mainPeter Shelley, senior attorney for the Conservation Law Foundation, charged that the council ignored years of scientific data and analysis and “caved to industry pressures” regarding Georges Bank. (The council did approve four other areas of habitat protection.) “The council hammered the final nail into the coffin of what could have been a landmark victory for ocean habitats protection in New England,” Shelley wrote on his organization’s web site.  Dr. Sarah Smith, a member of the Fisheries Solutions Center at the Environmental Defense Fund, wrote The Standard-Times in an e-mail, “We are disappointed that the council,,, Read the rest here 09:14

New England Council Votes to Open Up Parts of George’s Bank to Commercial Fishing

100_1204NEWPORT, R.I. – Regional fishery regulators meeting in Rhode Island have voted to open up parts of George’s Bank – off of Massachusetts – to commercial fishing. The New England Fishery Management Council has approved a plan that it says will allow fishing opportunities on healthy stocks for the economically strapped groundfish fleet. In a statement, the council says the plan also allows greater access to a portion of the Georges Bank sea scallop resource that has not been open to the fishery since 1994. CLF crowd feeling bummed. Read the rest here 20:51

Good News for Georges Bank! – Drilling Moratorium Extended, strong landings of lobster, haddock and scallops

The announcement in Finance Minister Joe Oliver’s budget that the federal government will join with the Nova Scotia government to legislate an extension to the Georges Bank moratorium adds to a recent spate of good news for the province’s fishing and seafood industry, says Denny Morrow,,, The coalition issued a news release saying strong landings of lobster, haddock and scallops; the lower Canadian dollar; and good demand for those seafood exports in U.S. and Asian markets are creating a feeling of optimism in the industry. Read the rest here 17:30

NEFMC fails to agree on scallopers’ wish to enter long-closed areas

mkThursday the council failed to come to terms about the specifics of the plan in Georges Bank, which centers on an area on the Canadian line called the Northern Edge. On Wednesday the council approved several measures in the Gulf of Maine, delineating protected areas where certain forms of fishing gear will not be permitted. Georges Bank was another matter. NOAA Fisheries regional administrator John Bullard had signaled his disapproval of preliminary plans on the grounds that they weren’t protective enough of habitat. And when council member  introduced an amendment to make the plan more acceptable to NOAA fisheries, the meeting collapsed into disarray. Read the rest here 08:28

NEFMC Approve Some Habitat Changes – blocks no-fishing zone for scientific research on Stellwagen Bank

Federal fishery regulators say they will keep much-debated protections for Cashes Ledge in the 100_1407in place as part of a broad effort to alter the scope of New England’s fishing grounds. Peter Baker, director of northeast U.S. Oceans for Pew Charitable Trusts, said that with the recent approvals, the council remains “on a course to eliminate thousands of square miles of important fish habitat areas” in favor of commercial fishing concerns. He said the council has ignored conservationists’ (shrugs shoulders),,, Read the rest here 20:48

New England Fishery Management Council expected to vote on opening scallop grounds

TraditionThe New England Fishery Management Council on Thursday will take up the subject of opening parts of Georges Bank to scallop fishing, in some cases after closures of 20 years that led to an untapped abundance of scallops, according to surveys. Wednesday’s meeting of the council, day two of three, offered a preview of how the council, and by extension NOAA Fisheries, intends to proceed. “Don’t be bullied” by the environmentalists, Maggie Raymond of the Associated Fisheries of Maine urged the 17-member council. Read the rest here 09:22

Scallop Sparks flying in advance of New England Fishery Management Council meeting

mkThe scallop industry is on high alert over next week’s meeting of the New England Fishery Management Council after a long warning letter was sent to the council by NOAA Fisheries Regional Administrator John Bullard. The council’s Habitat Committee has issued recommendations that fishing restrictions be lifted on several areas of Georges Bank, the Gulf of Maine and the South Channel. But Bullard, backed by his agency’s scientific staff, said he believes that the relaxing of the restrictions would set back the effort to nurse fish stocks back to health. Read the rest here 22:03

Why is Ottawa drawing a blank on Georges Bank?

The productivity of this bank is witnessed by the largest year class of haddock (2010) that has been recorded in the last 50 years. You would think that governments responsible for managing this unique ocean area would want to protect it from . A blowout similar to the recent Deep Water Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico would be devastating to many fishing communities in southwestern Nova Scotia and New England. Eighty per cent of Georges Bank lies in American waters. Read the rest here 11:30

George’s Bank at Risk: Shell’s N.S. project assessment in last stage

Shell Canada Inc. was another step closer Wednesday to exploratory drilling off the coast of Nova Scotia after an environmental assessment moved into its final phase. “We remain on track for a mid-2015 commencement of exploratory drilling,” Larry Lalonde, a Shell Canada spokesman, said in an interview. “There is a significant possibility of oil reaching  George’s Bank and the southwest coast of the province in the event of a blowout,” Joanne Cook, marine toxics co-ordinator with the centre, said in an interview. Read the rest here 10:41

NoRigs 3 calls on Harper government to extend Georges Bank drilling moratorium

For the third time in three decades a coalition of fisheries groups and environmentalists is campaigning to prevent oil and gas drilling on Nova Scotia’s lucrative Georges Bank fishing grounds. The group, known as NoRigs 3, is calling on the Harper Government to extend a federal moratorium that expires at the end of 2015.  Nova Scotia legislature unanimously passed a law in 2010 extending a provincial moratorium until 2022. Read the rest here  10:37

Voracious protected seals starting to overrun waters off New England

seals eat cod 5But what is the cost? Nils Stolpe, a Florida-based fishing industry journalist and advocate, calculated that since each seal consumed 5 percent of its body weight each day in squid, mollusks, crustaceans, and a variety of fish including rockfish, herring, flounder, salmon, hake, and lance, and don’t forget cod, it amounts to q a quarter million pounds daily. Annually he added it up to 450,000 million pounds, about 200,000 metric tons. Read the rest here 07:07 Read Dogfish and seals and dolphin, oh my! by Nils Stolpe here

BP oil spill dispersants concern Nova Scotia Anti Drilling Group

“When you mix this stuff with the oil, you create a compound that is substantially more dangerous than even the dangerous dispersant on its own or even the dangerous oil on its own and this is the issue that we have,” says John Davis, a founder of the No Rigs Coalition. He says Shell has already put out bids to use Corexit if there is a spill at a well planned for the Shelburne Gully. Davis says he worries the chemical could end up on the Georges Bank, pointing out the Labrador Current would carry any material right to the fertile fishing grounds.  Read the rest here 09:20

20 Years Ago: Commercial-Fishing Halt Is Urged for Georges Bank

nefmc logoWhile some fishing could continue, the council, the New England Fishery Management Council, directed its staff to come up with measures that would reduce the catch of cod, haddock and yellowtail flounder, the principal species sought on the Georges Bank, to as close to zero as practical. Read more here  08:06

Georges Bank drilling moratorium maintained by Ottawa

CBC_News_logoFederal Finance Minister Joe Oliver says Ottawa will maintain its moratorium on oil and gas exploration on Georges Bank, a rich fishing area southwest of Nova Scotia. The ban expires at the end of 2015 and Nova Scotia has been in talks with the federal government about extending it until the end of 2022. Read more here  08:38

New Bedford: Scallop buyers get lessons in science, regulation

deck load 2 enduranceScallop boats are allowed only about 32 days at sea per year, but scallops are so abundant and lucrative that working on a boat still can be extremely rewarding. Eastern Fisheries’ veteran captain Christopher Audette, who after 20 years on the water looks and sounds like someone from central casting, told the foreign visitors that deck hands on his boat took home more than $200,000 last year. Read more here  southcoast 07:53

New England: Handicapping our fishermen

100_1840 Hadddock populations are known to be cyclical. Having recovered from recent lows in the 1990s, the stock is now healthy and abundant. In fact, for nearly a decade, haddock biomass has been hovering at or above the highest levels recorded in 60 years. But you wouldn’t know that by looking at what American fishermen have been landing. Despite being one of the most plentiful groundfish stocks available, our fishermen have been mostly unsuccessful at harvesting their allocations. Read more here bostonglobe  11:30

Your View: Eric Hansen – Scallopers need access to Georges Bank

sct logoThe scallop fishery has become the lifeblood of the New Bedford waterfront, a bright spot in a fishing industry encumbered by onerous regulations and heavy-handed management. It has helped make New Bedford, for the 13th year in a row, the most valuable port in the nation. But,,,Read more here  11:11

SAVING SEAFOOD RADIO: NOAA’s Bill Karp on Georges Bank Yellowtail Flounder Assessments

logoSaving Seafood’s Bob Vanasse recently sat down with Dr. Bill Karp, Director of NOAA’s Northeast Regional Science Center, to discuss NOAA’s increased focus on cooperative research. Listen to the full interview with NOAA Northeast Regional Science Director Dr. Bill Karp  A lot of information, Read the summary here 20:39

EDITORIAL: Reviving groundfish

Even heavily overfished, nearly depleted groundfish stocks can fully recover. That, says Dalhousie University marine biology professor Boris Worm, is the underlying message in the stunning rebound of haddock stocks — from near collapse to waters teeming with fish — on Georges Bank. Read [email protected]  17:26