Tag Archives: gulf-of-maine-cod

Gulf of Maine Cod: Fishermen protest conclusion drawn in first year of DMF multi-year study

The Baker administration cabinet secretary in charge of the industry-based survey of Gulf of Maine cod agrees with commercial fishing interests that conclusions drawn from the initial findings of the multi-year study are premature. Matthew A. Beaton, secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, penned a letter to commercial groundfish sectors in which he addressed the most recent incident to fan the flames of discontent among fishermen regarding the validity of the science used to measure the Gulf of Maine cod biomass.,, But on April 3, a Boston Globe story proclaimed the initial results — which fall in line with the dire assessments by NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center of the cod stock’s imperiled state — “a milestone in the war over the true state of cod” in the Gulf of Maine. The story said the DMF scientists had “reached the same dismal conclusion that their federal counterparts did: The region’s cod are at a historic low — about 80 percent less than the population from just a decade ago.” Typical Boston Globe crap. click here to read the story. 22:54

New net opens a way to help fishermen and protect cod

Catching the wrong fish, or catching too much of a low-quota fish like cod, can end a season for a commercial fisherman. In recent years, the interstate New England Fishery Management Council has slashed the number of cod that can be landed from the Gulf of Maine from about 1,550 metric tons in 2014 to 280 metric tons now. Fishermen who catch too many, even by accident, can be shut down for the season. A team of scientists and fishermen led by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute has created a new kind of fishing net that can catch popular flatfish like yellowtail flounder without busting strict quotas set to protect the Atlantic cod from overfishing. The net redesign team was led by Eayrs, himself a former commercial fisherman in Australia, and Massachusetts state fisheries biologist Michael Pol. The team included four commercial fishermen from Massachusetts and New Hampshire, two other scientists and a Rhode Island netmaker. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Saltonstall-Kennedy program funded the $265,000 project in 2015, when it awarded $22 million in fisheries grants. Read the story here 07:57

New Trawl Avoids Cod

ulot_webA new fishing net has been designed in New England, US, which avoids catching cod while retaining flatfish, reports Gulf of Maine Research Institute. The net was designed in response to the drastic reduction in catch quotas for Gulf of Maine cod. The reduced quotas have made it difficult to target other species that are more abundant. The ultra low opening trawl (ULOT) has a smaller vertical opening than a typical trawl net; just over 2 feet compared to the 6-foot opening in standard nets. This design allows for cod to swim up and over the net, escaping capture. Read the rest here. – Read more about this – Ultra-Low-Opening Groundfish Trawl Development This project is a collaboration with scientists (Mike Pol – MA DMF; Chris Glass – UNH; Pingguo He – SMAST), fishermen (Jim Ford – F/V Lisa Ann III; Dan Murphy – F/V Bantry Bay, Tom Testaverde – F/V Midnight Sun) and a net maker (Jon Knight – Superior Trawl). Click here to read 13:31

Recreational fishermen can target cod starting Monday

charter, cod restrictions, yankee freedomAs of Monday, recreational anglers will get a chance to reacquaint themselves with the much-coveted Gulf of Maine cod when federal fishing restrictions for the species are lifted until the end of September. The bag limit for the iconic species, whose stock NOAA Fisheries maintains is in freefall, will be one cod per fisherman per day. (Anglers are mentioning the huge numbers of cod they have to throw back.) The anglers’ comments are representative of the overall narrative of local fishermen — commercial, recreational and lobstermen — who continue to insist they are seeing far more cod in the water than the scientists at NOAA Fisheries say are there. It is a disconnect that, in many ways, has come to define the plight of the commercial fishing industry and its lack of trust in the science that comes out of NOAA Fisheries. They hear one thing in the stock assessments. They see another with their eyes when they’re out on the water. Read the story here 09:16

Researchers use the North Atlantic Oscillation as a predictive tool for managing Gulf of Maine Cod

27-researchersuIn recent decades, the plight of Atlantic cod off the coast of New England has been front-page news. Since the 1980s in particular, the once-seemingly inexhaustible stocks of Gadus morhua—one of the most important fisheries in North America—have declined dramatically. In 2008, a formal assessment forecasted that stocks would rebound, but by 2012, they were once again on the verge of collapse. Two years later, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration instituted an unprecedented six-month closure of the entire Gulf of Maine cod fishery to allow stocks to recover. While overfishing is one known culprit, a new study co-authored by researchers at UC Santa Barbara and Columbia University finds that the climatological phenomenon known as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is also a factor. And it contributes in a predictable way that may enable fishery managers to protect cod stocks from future collapse. Read the rest here 17:37

Counting cod: Division of Marine Fisheries trawl survey aims to determine status of iconic fish

578c4314185c7.image (1)The coastline had melted into a gray slurry, its shapes barely visible through intermittent rain and mist, when the Miss Emily made her first of two scheduled tows last week about seven miles off this South Shore port. Despite the weather, the waters remained sedate as the 55-foot gillnetter (its a dragger), skippered by owner Capt. Kevin Norton, steamed at about three knots for 30 minutes, its net set at 36 fathoms, or about 216 feet. Its target? What else? The iconic, oft-debated and oft-elusive cod. “It will be interesting to see what we come up with today,” Norton said as he feathered the Miss Emily through the harbor and out into open waters. “Usually, at this time of year, there’s nothing really here because the water has begun to warm and the fish already have moved further out.” “This whole survey is designed with cod in mind,” said Micah Dean, a research scientist at DMF. “There’s never been a fishing-industry trawl survey in June or July, so this should give us a new perspective.” Read the rest here 09:03

Savage quota cuts will finish off the New England small boat groundfish fishery

manatthewheelFishermen and fishing stakeholders say the darkness that has descended on the Northeast groundfish fishery over the past three years is only going to grow deeper in 2016, with some fishing stakeholders envisioning the final collapse of the small-boat industry due to slashed quotas for species they believe are abundant. “We’ve never had a greater gap between what the fishermen are seeing on the water and what the scientists are saying,” Giacalone said. “Never.” Read the rest here, if you can stand it. 06:23

Discard Mortality: What happens when a fisherman tosses a fish back overboard? It’s not a frivolous question.

discard mortality studyWhat happens when a fisherman tosses a fish back overboard? It’s not a frivolous question. The government bases catch quotas and other rules in part on the mortality of tossed fish, and there isn’t always accurate data available about how many fish survive the fling. Now, a group of New England scientists says it’s finding that a surprisingly high percentage of the lucky fish might live to swim another day. Read the article here 08:44

Recreational Cod study aims to help fish crisis

AR-151229933.jpg&MaxW=650With cod at historically low population levels and commercial fishermen limited to landings that are just a fraction of what they once were, the recreational catch is now believed to account for as much as one-third of total landings of Gulf of Maine cod. But recreational landings data was considerably poorer than the commercial data, which made it hard to estimate their true impact on the population or know the effectiveness of regulatory measures. Solving the cod crisis will take a lot of research, (of course!) Read the article here 12:04

New England: Fleet could see haddock quota double

haddockThe annual catch limits for Gulf of Maine cod will increase slightly in 2016, while the quota for haddock will more than double if recommendations passed this week by the New England Fishery Management Council are approved by NOAA Fisheries. One year after slashing total cod quotas by more than 75 percent to 386 metric tons, the council voted at its three-day meeting in Portland, Maine, to raise the total cod annual catch limit (ACL) to about 440 metric tons, with 280 metric tons designated for the commercial fishing industry in each of the next three fishing seasons. Read the article here 08:20:38

Warmer Gulf of Maine clobbering the cod

AR-151209869.jpg&MaxW=650Desperate measures have been taken, cod quotas have been slashed again and again, and yet fish numbers continue to slide. Now, a new study by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute suggest the Gulf’s warming waters have led to the collapse of the fishery and recovery depends “as much on temperature as it does on fishing.”,, But if is the prime culprit, not over zealous fishermen, what more can be done on a local level? Andrew Pershing,  “Our work suggests that had temperature been factored in,,,” Read the article here 09:18

Gulf warming study based on bad science, stakeholders say

cod-fishThe study, performed by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and appearing in the journal Science, concluded the Gulf of Maine’s surface water is warming more rapidly than 99.9 percent of the rest of the world’s oceans and that climate change is a contributing factor to the demise of the cod stock.  “My first question was whether any part of the study started out to understand the true status of Gulf of Maine cod or if they just assumed that the data from the assessment — which we contend is consistently wrong — is fact,” said Vito Giacalone, policy director for the Gloucester-based Northeast Seafood Coalition. “I was told it was the latter.” Read the rest here 08:39

New England Stock Assessments – If it’s the same, it will never be different, Don Cuddy

We are having a serious problem in New England with the performance of the models used in fishery management. To remedy a situation that, along with some other factors, has led to the current crisis in the groundfish industry, we need new data … and maybe we need new models.,, Getting better data is a theme familiar to anyone with connections to the fishing industry in New England. It is central to the mission at the Center for Sustainable Fisheries and was the focus of the forum CSF sponsored at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in May. Read the rest here 09:03

‘Now I’m at half what I’d normally be at.’ Cod restriction’s rip the charter fleet

charter, cod restrictions, yankee freedomIt isn’t just the Northeast commercial groundfishing fleet that is struggling under the weight of the more restrictive federal fishing regulations that have completely taken cod off the table in the Gulf of Maine. The tendrils of those new regulations have reached the charter and for-hire fishing operators, who now try to combat both the reality — no cod — and the perception — no other groundfish species is worth the time and expense of a charter trip that have been generated by increasingly restrictive regulations instituted for the 2015 fishing season. Read the rest here 08:50

Our view: New fishing limits another blow to the New England fishing industry

cod-fish-852One might think that the lifting of the emergency cod regulations imposed by NOAA last November would bring sighs of relief across the Gloucester waterfront and elsewhere as the new commercial fishing year dawns Friday. But there is little relief and there are no cheers being heard among groundfishermen here and elsewhere across the North Shore and New England. For in lifting a number of the area closures that kept many fishing boats tied to the docks late last year, NOAA and the New England Fishery Management Council have replaced those rules,,, Read the rest here 08:43

Editorial: Latest cod limits reiterates need for assessment changes

gdt iconOne might think that the lifting of the emergency cod regulations imposed by NOAA last November would bring sighs of relief across the Gloucester waterfront and elsewhere as the new commercial fishing year dawns this Friday. But there is little relief and there are no cheers being heard among groundfishermen here and elsewhere across the North Shore and New England. “Now the game of make-believe begins,” says Vito Giacalone,  “Now it’s all about running away from fish that we know exist, but are not recognized by the assessment. Read the rest here 09:27

Lean year for New England cod ahead as shutdown looms

cod-fish-852Catch limits set to take effect this week will take a bite out of an industry that dates back to America’s colonial past: New England cod. But Gulf of Maine cod are what fishermen call a “choke species,” as they must also stop fishing for some other species when the cod fishery shuts down. Haddock, pollock and hake — groundfish that, like cod, dwell on the ocean bottom and share space in with it in markets, restaurants and seafood auctions — will also be harder to come by.  Read the rest here 15:09

Letter: Fishermen grateful for Congressman Seth Moulton’s efforts

manatthewheelWe would like to publicly thank Congressman Seth Moulton for his support for fishing business in Gloucester. During the campaign, Congressman Moulton promised to advocate for sound policies for the fishing industry. In office for less than one month, he has delivered on that promise. Congressman Moulton’s strong and timely support of a sector-based solution offered by the Gloucester Fishing Community Preservation Fund was critical and well received. Ultimately, NOAA agreed to amend the Gulf of Maine cod for the remainder of this fishing year. Read the rest here 09:31

NOAA should extend fishermen’s input to new year’s rules, too

The announcement that g0002580000000000000bea0810c3a6cac2be28188b42d824fdbd10e7d9 Fisheries has agreed to pull back elements of last November’s emergency Gulf of Maine cod protective measures represents good news on several fronts. Now, it’s important that this cooperation be extended when it comes to setting regulations for the next fishing year, which is due to start May 1 — or in just eight weeks. Read the rest here 07:53

A Tale of two pictures – NOAA and Enviros have it all wrong on Gulf of Maine Cod!

This is a picture of approximately 2000 lbs. of cod.  It represents the first time I have targeted cod in two years.  While one picture does not determine the status of the stock it is a powerful illustrator of our current assessment shortcomings.  This presentation is on Gulf of Maine Cod but the problems it illustrates cut across numerous species.  By way of background, this was a one hour research tow in an open area.  I travelled 20 miles to make this tow and it represents the first area that had not been taken over by lobster traps.  This alone is cause for concern because most of the Gulf of Maine is now defacto closed to commercial fishing and the trawl survey, by the proliferation of fixed gear.  The fact is, none of us now know how many cod exist because no one, including the NOAA trawl survey can fish here. Read the rest here, by David Goethel 16:36

Enviros Petition for Immediate and Permanent Rule Making to Prohibit Fishing for Gulf of Maine Cod

Enviros Petition for Immediate and Permanent Rule Making to Prohibit Fishing for Gulf of Maine Cod

Today’s petition, filed under the Administrative Procedure Act, urges the Fisheries Service to follow the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act requirement to rebuild overfished species. The  called for the Fisheries Service to prohibit fishing for Gulf of Maine cod, allowing catch only incidental to other targeted fish, and reduce such bycatch to levels that allow the cod population to rebuild. Read the rest here 13:33

The Great Cod Compromise of 2015: NOAA, fishing industry find rare common ground on cod actions

The industry stakeholders and NOAA/NMFSAtlantic-Cod-Dieter-Craasmann arrived at a compromise: NOAA would eliminate the trip bycatch limit and leave the broad stock areas open, but it only would be able to accept up to 30 metric tons of the surrendered cod allocation and the rolling closures scheduled for March would stay in effect.”We felt like what we came up with addresses two of the major complaints by the fishing industry,” Bullard said. “We think there is a conservation benefit to that and it’s a good proposal.” Read the rest here 15:57

NOAA to reconsider emergency Gulf of Maine cod measures

130307_GT_ABO_BULLARD_1The fishing sector-based proposal to remove some of the most restrictive emergency cod measures in the Gulf of Maine, initially rejected by NOAA Fisheries, is back in play. NOAA Regional Administrator John K. Bullard rejected the sector-based proposal and all other suggested modifications to the emergency cod measures at the New England Fishery Management Council’s January meeting in Portsmouth, N.H., saying the agency had not had enough time to fully study the implications and possible benefits of the sector-based proposal. Read the rest here 10:17

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

Setting the record, and John Bullard straight – Fishermen have first-hand knowledge of cod stock levels

Recently the Portsmouth Herald ran a well written, multiple source article on the status of . One of your interviews was with John Bullard, Regional Administrator for NOAA Fisheries. In his statement he said he would be glad to consider my point of view when I produced peer-reviewed scientific journal articles. Apparently Mr. Bullard does not know that I have been involved in peer-reviewed journal articles on several species, as well as trawl bycatch reduction devices, for a number of years. Read the rest here 06:53

Fishing stakeholders rejoin the battle on Gulf of Maine cod

Atlantic-Cod-Dieter-CraasmannThe NSC, in a statement of its opposition to retaining the original interim actions, said that rather than saving cod, the emergency measures will increase cod discards by almost 500 percent. “We’ve shut down the redfish fishery, crippled the pollock fishery, bankrupted the entire inshore fleet and knowingly implemented a management plan that increases discards from 2 percent to 500 percent in the hope we may conserve 200 metric tons of cod that are already accounted for in the recent cod assessment? All to benefit a nation?” the NSC said. Read the rest here 19:09

Bullard: The 200-pound trip limit for cod bycatch in the Gulf of Maine will remain in force

130307_GT_ABO_BULLARD_1NOAA fisheries will not modify or remove any of the restrictive emergency interim actions governing Gulf of Maine cod it instituted last November, NOAA Regional Administrator John K. Bullard said Wednesday. Bullard, speaking during a meeting of the New England Fisheries Management Council meeting in Portsmouth, N.H., told council members that: The 200-pound trip limit for cod bycatch in the Gulf of Maine will remain in force despite a variety of requests by fishing stakeholders for it to be increased or eliminated. Read the rest here 08:09

Federal restrictions hit recreational fishermen

Atlantic cod-John Bullard, Northeast regional administrator at NOAA, said he believes the scientists working with NOAA and who came to the recent conclusions about cod should be fairly acknowledged by the fishermen. Their studies are peer reviewed, he said, meaning they’ve been examined and approved by scientists familiar with the subject not involved with the study directly. He said he sympathizes with the fishermen and others impacted by the economic hit the regulations are causing, but he believes the restrictions are necessary.  Read the rest here 09:34

Fishermen’s offer: We’ll catch fewer cod for chance at more haddock

As trades go, this isn’t exactly guns for hostages or Heathcliff Slocumb for Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe. Still it’s pretty interesting. Fishermen in  and other sectors, with funding assistance from the Gloucester Fishing Community Preservation Fund (GFCPF), are offering to surrender up to 60 metric tons of their annual cod catch entitlement if NOAA Fisheries will relax some of the emergency measures it instituted in November to protect Gulf of Maine cod. Read the rest here  09:53

Where Have All the Cod Gone?

As early as the 1850s, fishermen from Maine and Massachusetts began to pester their governments to do something about declining cod catches. Those men fished with hooks and lines from small wooden sailboats and rowboats. Fearing “the material injury of the codfishing interests of this state” by increased fishing for menhaden, a critical forage fish for cod, fishermen from Gouldsboro, Me., implored the Legislature in 1857 to limit menhaden hauls. Read the rest here 18:04