Tag Archives: Georges Bank

NEFMC Endorses 2022 U.S./Canada TACs; Discusses Groundfish Framework 63

During its late-September 2021 meeting, the New England Fishery Management Council agreed by consensus to accept the U.S./Canada Transboundary Management Guidance Committee’s (TMGC) total allowable catch (TAC) recommendations for three shared groundfish resources on Georges Bank. These involve Eastern Georges Bank cod, Eastern Georges Bank haddock, and Georges Bank yellowtail flounder. The TMGC recommended the TACs based on advice from the U.S./Canada Transboundary Resources Assessment Committee (TRAC). >click to read< 14:34

Shelburne Warden Advocates Extension Of Georges Bank Oil and Gas Exploration Moratorium

Warden Penny Smith says the moratorium is important for the fishing industry. “Billions of dollars of lobster, scallop and ground fish landings come from Georges Bank. This industry is our coastal communities’ economic mainstay, and it cannot be put at risk. It’s one of the richest fishing grounds in the world, and it supports the provincial economy, so we must continue to protect these important fishing grounds,” said Smith. The moratorium has been in place for 33 years, and a decision on extension needs to be made by the end of 2022. >click to read< 07:50

‘Tragedy of the Commons’ Will be the Fate of Marine Environment in Atlantic Offshore Wind Farms

Like the English commons, the Atlantic waters could take just so much ‘grazing’. The Canadian government finally recognized the cod fishery had crashed and closed it;,, Recognizing that fish could not be owned until they were caught, government regulators attempted to at least partially privatize fishing rights. So too, the waters in which they swim (Hague Line dividing CN and US waters in the Gulf of Maine and on Georges Bank.) It was that bottom and those waters that wind farm builders wanted “rights”.,,, So, the question arises “why don’t the fishing interests move to protect these sensitive marine habitats?They have tried without much success. >click to read< 18:43

Maine delegation requests comment period extension for BiOp with profound impact on Maine lobstermen

The BiOp is an assessment of a federal agency’s impact on an endangered species. In this case, the Biological Opinion assesses the effectiveness of regulations that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has imposed on the Maine lobster fishery to protect the North Atlantic Right Whale. Maine lobstermen have already taken significant steps to protect the right whale, despite there being no direct evidence that a single right whale serious injury or mortality has been attributable to the Gulf of Maine or Georges Bank lobster fishery since 2004. >click to read< 09:29

Georges Bank haddock – Canada, U.S. agree to slash quota by 45%

Canada and the United States have agreed to a large quota cut for the haddock stock that straddles their shared fishing grounds on Georges Bank south of Nova Scotia. Committee records from 2019 and 2020 show the Georges Bank haddock population is still healthy, but on the decline as the “extraordinarily strong” population hatched in 2013 is caught or dies off. COVID-19 curtailed or cancelled scientific surveys on Georges Bank in 2020. “We have no analytical model on haddock, had no U.S. surveys,,, >click to read< 21:05

Would throwing the big ones back keep Atlantic halibut fishery on a roll? DFO considers changing the rules!

The investigation is being undertaken at the request of companies that fish halibut using hook and line from the Grand Banks off Newfoundland to Georges Bank off southern Nova Scotia. They’d like to see it happen. “Releasing large halibut is something that fishermen will say, and I will say, that’s just logical, because the majority of the large halibut are females. But you really don’t know just what goes on after you release a large halibut like that,” said Gary Dedrick, a halibut fisherman from Shelburne, N.S., and a founding member of the Atlantic Halibut Council. “So this is where there is monitoring on the bottom and how long they live.” >click to read< 09:45

Spiny dogfish eat small Atlantic codfish! DNA may provide some answers

Conventional observations show that spiny dogfish in the western North Atlantic rarely eat Atlantic cod. However, some believe the rebuilding dogfish populations are limiting depleted cod numbers by competition or predation. To find out what is going on, NOAA Fisheries scientists looked to genetic testing to confirm cod presence in dogfish stomachs. >click to read< 13:10

What a life Stevie Robbins had

Inside an old trap shop on West Main Street down by the harbor, Stevie Robbins for many years played his guitar and sang on Sunday mornings, starting at 7 a.m. Anyone who wanted to could join him, and many did. ,, He was a highline fishermen, one of the first to fish off the Georges Banks. A master boat handler and lobster catcher, he was tough and strong and determined, said Brian in a phone interview. “He could walk across your living  room floor and there’d be a lobster hanging off his pant-leg by the time he got to the other end,” he said. At first he fished inshore with Brian. Then the stories about the offshore fishermen, Bob Brown and Benny Beal, started to trickle down to the Robbins boys. In 1977, they set out for the offshore grounds in the 44’ Shirley and Freeman, named for his mother and grandfather. At first, they had little luck. What they did catch they sold to Clyde Conary. “We didn’t make Clyde any money,” said Brian. “He’d have a cigarette, and say, ‘I got faith in you boys.’” photo’s,  >click to read< 08:25

Federal Fishing Expansion Could Endanger Right Whales

Trump regulators opened about 3,100 square miles of ocean to fishing for scallops and fish that live near the bottom of the ocean such as halibut and flounder that had been closed for more than two decades, including a section of Georges Bank off Cape Cod, Mass., and part of the ocean near southern New England.,, A scallop fishing industry group, Fisheries Survival Fund, said no scallop vessel has ever had an interaction with a right whale. >click to read< 11:29

1979: NBC 10 reported on oil platforms drilling offshore New England

The Texas Towers radar platforms that were the subject of our special broadcast in the 1960s were gone by 1964. In the next two decades, they were replaced by a different kind of platform — one that drills for oil offshore. In 1979, one was in Narragansett Bay headed south to the Baltimore Canyon to drill. And in 1981, two platforms were drilling for oil in the Georges Bank, much to the consternation of commercial fishermen who worried their rich fishing grounds would be disrupted and polluted. >video, click to read<16:34

US fishermen lose quota in new fishing pact with Canada

American fishermen are losing thousands of pounds of valuable fishing quota under a new catch share agreement with Canada. Fishermen from the U.S. and Canada seek haddock, cod and flounder on Georges Bank, which is a critical fishing ground east of New England, The two countries craft a catch share agreement every year. Under the latest agreement, the U.S.’s eastern Georges Bank cod quota is falling by more than 25 per cent to about 415,000 pounds and the eastern Georges Bank haddock quota is falling by about 4 per cent to about 33 million pounds. The loss in quota will present a hardship for New England fishermen, who are already coping with low cod quotas and the collapse of the cod stock, said Terry Alexander,,, >click to read<16:40

New England: Centuries-old cod fishery had worst year in history in 2017

One of the most historic fisheries in the country hit an all-time low last year as cod fishermen continued to struggle with choking quotas and low abundance of the fish. Maine’s cod fishery has existed since at least the early 17th century, and it was once one of the strongest in the country. The fishery peaked at more than 21 million pounds of cod, a fish often used with the fish and chips dish, in 1991.,,, One reason for the collapse is that federal quotas for cod are so low many fishermen are just avoiding them altogether, said Terry Alexander, a veteran fisherman out of Portland and Boston. Cod fishermen typically also seek other species, such as haddock and flounder, and they must stop fishing altogether once they reach quota for cod, per the rules. >click to read<11:15

July 27, 1981: Oil drilling begins on Georges Bank – ”It’s only a matter of time before the fishermen get used to having us out here.”

On this day in 1981, the New York Times reported on the start of drilling for oil in Georges Bank. It was not to be, however, as the first President George Bush later proclaimed a federal edict which prohibited all offshore oil exploration, at least until today when his son has rescinded that presidential edict. Eight exploratory wells were dug to average depths of 16,000 feet about 125 miles east of Cape Cod through early 1982. At 4:57 P.M., Wes Campbell, a driller working for the Shell Oil Company, lowered a column of steel pipe deep into the Atlantic, 200 miles off the coast of Massachusetts. >click to read<08:14

DFO trawl surveys – Fishery decisions shored up on flawed science

As unintentional metaphors go, it was strangely apt: a reader with ties to federal fisheries science wrote to me to tell me that a recent column on problems with that science, “only scratched the surface.” In some ways, that seems like a perfect description of the problem. What I’d written about was the use of a contracted private fishing trawler to do a shortened annual fisheries survey on George’s Bank. The vessel was going to do the survey in 11 days – the work normally takes five weeks, and is done by one of two federal fisheries vessels,,, >click to read< 09:17

Benchmark study of lobsters begins

In 2015, data collected in a benchmark assessment of New England lobster stocks showed record-high abundance for the combined stocks of the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank and record lows for the lobster stock of southern New England. Now, about three years later, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is beginning preparations for the next American lobster benchmark assessment that is expected to be completed around March 2020. “We’re in the very early stages right now,” said Jeff Kipp, senior stock assessment scientist at the Arlington, Virginia-based ASMFC that regulates the Northeast lobster fishery. “The process will be mostly data-driven.” >click to read< 21:10

Why the Trump offshore drilling plan is another Canada-U.S. complication

As much as half a million kilograms of haddock caught on the rich fishing grounds of Georges Bank this weekend will be landed in ports in southwestern Nova Scotia, as the winter fishery gets underway after a storm-delayed start to 2018.,,, Canada and the U.S. jointly manage fisheries on Georges Bank through various trans-boundary committees that agree on quotas, resource sharing and stock health. >click here to read<

NMFS Approves “Majority” of Council’s Habitat Amendment

NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has approved –with two exceptions –the New England Fishery Management Council’s Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat Amendment 2 (OHA2), paving the way for sweeping change to the existing network of closed and management areas in the Gulf of Maine, Southern New England, and Georges Bank. The changes will provide better protection for both fish and habitat while eliminating closures that no longer serve their intended purpose. click here to read the press release 16:20

Trump administration’s offshore drilling plans make one Nova Scotia fish processor very nervous

A U.S. government plan to expand offshore drilling in its waters could give oil and gas companies access to ecologically sensitive areas, including the American half of Georges Bank, a prospect that makes one Nova Scotia fish processor very nervous. Georges Bank is a large elevated area of sea floor that separates the Gulf of Maine from the Atlantic Ocean and is an important breeding ground for several fish species. It’s an area far too important to the fishing industry to be endangered by drilling, according to Nathan Blades, the general manager of Sable Fish Packers on Cape Sable Island in southwest Nova Scotia. click here to read the story 13:35

Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat Amendment – Plan to change New England ocean stewardship up for debate

The federal government is close to enacting new rules about New England ocean habitat that could mean dramatic changes for the way it manages the marine environment and fisheries. The National Marine Fisheries Service has been working on the rules for some 13 years and recently made them public. They would change the way the government manages the Gulf of Maine, Georges Bank and southern New England waters, which are critical pieces of ocean for rare whales, unique underwater canyons and commercial fishermen.,, The proposal states that its goal is to minimize “adverse effects of fishing on essential fish habitat.” click here to read the story 10:50

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