Tag Archives: Gulf of Maine Research Institute

Atlantic bluefin tuna stocks are rebounding — but raising quota proves controversial

Fishermen up and down the New England coast say it has been decades since they’ve been able to catch so many Atlantic bluefin tuna, so fast. Once severely depleted, populations of the prized sushi fish appear to be rebuilding. Now the industry and some scientists say the international commission that regulates the fish can allow a much bigger catch. But some environmental groups disagree.,, click here to read the story 09:18

Nova Scotia lobster fishermen reject idea of surveillance cameras on boats

The global demand by consumers (enviro’s) that seafood be harvested sustainably made its way into a firehall in Lockeport Thursday. More than a hundred fishermen from southwest Nova Scotia showed up at an information session on the use of video cameras on fishing boats to monitor catch. The session was hosted by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and organized by the Ecology Action Centre. A fisherman from British Columbia and a program manager from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute both spoke about the use of camera monitoring in those regions. At issue is the bycatch of endangered or threatened species. In Nova Scotia’s lobster fishery, the Atlantic cod and cusk are among fish stocks to watch as they get trapped along with the crustaceans. Many of the fishermen who attended the workshop were upset about the perceived need for cameras, and suspicious about an invasion of privacy. click here to read the story 08:10

Kitty’s out of a job! Researchers Discontinue Annual Lobster Season Forecast After Complaints From Industry

A Portland-based research institute is dropping its yearly forecast of when lobster landings in Maine will begin their annual surge. The move comes after criticism from Maine’s lobster industry about the report’s timing and accuracy, and its effect on lobster prices.,, State regulators and lobster industry groups asked the institute whether it could develop a tool that would allow the timing of the annual uptick in lobster landings to be predicted. After a few years studying the issue, the institute started publicizing its statewide predictions in 2015 and again last year. But last year, and particularly in certain geographic areas, the prediction didn’t match conditions. click here to read the story 11:40

Catch Shares? – Researchers Fear Industrialization of Maine Lobster Fleet

Unlike most fisheries in the world, the lobster industry is actually experiencing an unprecedented boom despite centuries of sustained harvesting. Last year, the lobster catch was a record 130 million pounds, marking the fifth straight year the annual catch went over 120 million pounds, and over six times more than the long-term average for the state. The recent lobster boom, according to the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, is likely primarily due to warmer ocean temperatures as younger lobsters are reaching sexual maturity faster in warmer waters. But it’s also because, unlike the ground fishery, the state long ago took a proactive approach to conserving the resource. “There are some interesting differences between those two fisheries in terms of the regulations we put in place very early on in the lobster fishery,” said fisheries researcher Patrick Shepard at the Penobscot Marine Museum’s “Our Evolving Fisheries History Conference” in Belfast on April 8, “but there are also some interesting parallels to what might be happening as far as technological advances.” click here to read the article 13:49

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

Utilizing sound technology, scientists assess northern shrimp population along the Maine Coast

shrimpThis winter, a small fleet of Maine fishermen will head out to hunt for northern shrimp, even though the fishery itself has been closed for three years. They won’t be landing the New England delicacy so it can be eaten. The fishermen will use acoustic transducers, and a few nets and traps, to help the Gulf of Maine Research Institute learn where these small pink crustaceans congregate in our near-shore waters over the winter, where they lay their eggs. Using sound waves to survey a species as small as shrimp is a new challenge for scientists. “We have found low-frequency sound waves are good at detecting big fish, like cod, and high frequencies are good at detecting small organisms like shrimp,” said research associate Adam Baukus of GMRI. “The technology allows us to cover a lot more of the ocean than we can with trawls or traps alone. With sound, we can do 40 miles at a time. … Traditional (trawl) surveys are lucky to cover a quarter mile.” Read the story here 11:34

The Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s forecast could be affected by next week’s anticipated cold snap.

kitty lob forcastAn early June start to this year’s lobster season appears less likely in the latest forecast by researchers, but water temperatures in the Gulf of Maine still favor a “very early” start by June 19 or so. Scientists at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland put the odds of a very early start to the season – meaning two to three weeks before the traditional early July start – at 62 percent in the latest update of the forecast, issued Thursday. Read the rest, Click here 11:28

Gulf of Maine Research Institute says lobster season will likely start around June 19.

kitty lob forcastAn updated forecast points to an even stronger likelihood that Maine’s lobster season is going to get off to a very early start. The forecast from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, updated Thursday, said there’s a 47 percent chance of an “extremely early start,” defined as beginning as early as June 12. The lobstering season typically kicks into high gear after July 4. A “very early start,” defined as beginning around June 19, has a likelihood of 50 percent, the institute said, and an “early start” of around June 26 has a likelihood of 3 percent. The institute said there’s virtually no chance of a normal or late start to the season for Maine’s most valuable fishery. Read the rest here 17:38

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

Lobsterman discovers sea squirts on his traps

Tunicates-Lobstering-SMR-23-1200x795It’s no secret that the waters of the Gulf of Maine are getting warmer. Although many fishermen say that this summer the water around Downeast Maine has been colder than in recent years, according to data compiled by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, from 2004 to 2013, water surface temperatures rose faster in the Gulf of Maine than in 99.9 percent of the global ocean. Cold or warm, this year strange critters have made themselves at home in local waters, some of them apparently settling in Downeast Maine for the first time. Read the article here 19:02

WEEKEND FOCUS: Warming waters and the Gulf of Maine’s fate

gulf of maine warmHeadlines around that great body of water, cradled inside of Cape Sable Island to the north and Cape Cod in the south, screamed alarm this fall about a pending ecosystem collapse brought on by climate change. Most of those headlines linked back to a study by Andrew Pershing, chief scientific officer at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, published in October in the journal Science. In it, Pershing attributes the non-recovery of cod stocks to the Gulf of Maine having warmed faster between 2004 and 2014 than 99 per cent of all other saltwater bodies on Earth. Read the rest here 09:38

A fisherman’s doubt, and his love of the sea

scituatefish7He is up before the dawn, and, a creature of steady habits, he heads for the seashore. It’s dark when Frank Mirarchi jumps into his black pickup truck, and dark still when he reaches Scituate Harbor. He parks on the town pier and stares at the ocean. But his 55-foot stern dragger is no longer moored there. Actually, the boat is there. But it’s no longer his. It was renamed last June after he sold it — a poignant punctuation point to Mirarchi’s half-century career as a commercial fisherman. Read the rest here 15:01

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

Fishermen obeyed their quotas, so why did Maine cod stocks collapse?

NOAA ScientistDr. Andrew Pershing from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI), lead author of the study released Thursday in Science, explained for the first time why cod stocks in the Gulf of Maine have decreased to 3 to 4 percent of sustainable levels, despite numerous harvesting restrictions in 2010 by fisheries managers. Fisheries published strict quota limits for fishermen without accounting for ocean warming in the Gulf of Maine,,, By not accounting for such an influential change, fisheries set quota ceilings that were too high and inadvertently endorsed severe overfishing. Read the rest here  13:09

Warming waters a major factor in the collapse of New England cod, study finds

newstudywarmPershing and colleagues from GMRI, the University of Maine, Stony Brook University, the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, and NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory, including the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder, found that increasing water temperatures reduce the number of new cod produced by spawning females. Their study also suggests that warming waters led to fewer young fish surviving to adulthood. Read the rest here 18:04

SMAST researchers employ new methods of fish geolocation

CowlesFish-200x215Dr. Geoffrey Cowles and his research assistants, graduate students Doug Zemeckis and Chang Liu, are partners in a multi-institution effort to tag yellowtail flounder, monkfish, and now cod to learn much more than past methods could tell them. Cod are of paramount concern in recent years because NOAA surveys have concluded that they have virtually vanished in the Northeast fishery. Zemeckis said that one of the preliminary findings is that the cod that are there are not migrating north as many believe, but are staying put. Tagged fish are not showing up in Canada, he said. Read the rest here 08:31

Waters Warm, and Cod Catch Ebbs in Maine

421238_367823369911134_2112714610_nIn the vast gulf that arcs from Massachusetts’s shores to Canada’s Bay of Fundy, cod was once king.,,“A fisherman’s job isn’t to get an unbiased estimate of abundance. It’s to catch fish,” said Michael Fogarty, the chief of the ecosystem assessment program at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the federal agency that monitors sea life. “The world they see is a different world than we see in the surveys.”. Read the rest here 09:48

Maine Voices: Rebuild cod stock with low quotas and protection of older, larger females

Today, despite a wealth of survey data, a sophisticated process to estimate the number of fish and determine catch levels and a fishery that now operates well within these limits, we find ourselves with a cod stock that remains drastically overfished and unresponsive to our best rebuilding efforts. Read the rest here 11:50

Gulf of Maine: ‘Poster child’ for global warming

Long-established species of commercial fish, like cod, herring and northern shrimp, are departing for colder waters. Black sea bass, blue crabs and new species of squid — all highly unusual for the Gulf — are turning up in fishermen’s nets. The Gulf of Maine’s warming reflects,, Lots of info that appears to be new.BH  Read the rest here 07:54

Project to forecast Maine lobster season seeking NASA funding

A research proposal from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences aims to use Earth-system data to predict the movements of species along the Maine coast. Read more here kennebecjournal  16:16

A Report from The Gulf of Maine Research Institute “The Future of Cod in the Gulf of Maine”

“The Future of Cod in the Gulf of Maine” explores the range  of biological, climatological, economic and fishery management factors that affect this species. the report

(a footnote, nothing is mentioned about predator prey relationships regarding cod)

Support Available to Help Fishermen Interested in Investing in More Environmen​tally-Frie​ndly Technologi​es

Opportunity for fishermen to uimagepgrade to semi-pelagic doors which are expected to help reduce fuel consumption, and reduce the physical impact of trawl systems on the sea bed. Opportunities also exist for support and equipment for vessels to transition to electronic reporting, in which vessel trip report data can be submitted electronically rather than via paper. Details here

Networks of Researchers and Fishermen Working Together to Reduce Bycatch, Maximize Fishing Opportunities, and Advance Real-Time Technology

In the fall of 2010, the NOAA Fisheries Northeast Cooperative Research Program (NCRP) awarded more than $3 million to network groups designed to tackle difficult challenges in New England and Mid-Atlantic fisheries. These network projects provide a cross-discipline platform for fishermen, scientists, gear manufacturers and managers to work together to address their most pressing issues. continue