Tag Archives: Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries

A milestone in the war over the true state of cod

For years, fishermen from Gloucester to New Bedford have accused the federal government of relying on faulty science to assess the health of the region’s cod population, a fundamental flaw that has greatly exaggerated its demise, they say, and led officials to wrongly ban nearly all fishing of the iconic species.The fishermen’s concerns resonated with Governor Charlie Baker, so last year he commissioned his own survey of the waters off New England, where cod were once so abundant that fishermen would say they could walk across the Atlantic on their backs. Now, in a milestone in the war over the true state of cod in the Gulf of Maine, Massachusetts scientists have 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. continue reading the story here 08:07

Proposed regulations irk lobstermen

Bay State lobstermen fear that a new proposal — meant to save lobsters in warming southern New England waters — could hurt business by barring them from harvesting in prime summer months and putting tighter restrictions on the size of their catch. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will present a plan in New Bedford tonight on ways to maintain or increase the number of lobsters in waters from southern Massachusetts to Delaware. “Over the last 15 years we’ve seen a decline in lobster abundance, and we think that’s by and large a response to warming ocean temperatures,” said Dan McKiernan, deputy director of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. “That’s the challenge that we have — it’s trying to preserve lobster but doing it in a way that the industry can survive,” he added. Yet Massachusetts lobstermen argue that their pots are full and don’t see what the fuss is all about. video, read the story here 15:58

A Big Decline of River Herring – Tiny stones in fish hold clues to help restore populations

Many New Englanders still recall the vast springtime runs of river herring. Millions of the small silvery fish swam up coastal freshwater streams, returning from the sea to spawn. Two species of river herring, alewives and blueback herring, are critical components of marine food webs, right up to the fishermen on shore and at sea who harvest them. But in the late 1960s, herring populations sharply declined to as little as one percent of their historic size. Ever more-efficient commercial fishing fleets have swept them up in coastal waters. But even after states banned or limited catches, the fish have not rebounded. To expand access to historical spawning habitats, some communities have also begun removing dams. In 2014, Joel Llopiz launched a project, funded by Woods Hole Sea Grant, with colleagues at the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. The researchers are collecting and examining larval herring in four coastal river/pond systems of different sizes in Massachusetts. The systems also vary in their impacts from pollution, urban development, and agriculture. Continue reading here with more images 15:42

Participants in cooperative winter sampling program for Gulf of Maine northern shrimp announced

The program, coordinated by the Maine Department of Marine Resources, New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, and Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, is designed to provide biological data on the shrimp fishery which is closed for the fourth year in a row. These Maine fishermen were chosen from over 60 applicants based on a random drawing of those fully qualified in each region. Preference was given to trawlers willing to participate in a test of a compound grate for harvesting. The sampling program will include the participation of 10 trawlers (eight Maine trawlers, one Massachusetts trawler and one New Hampshire trawler) and five Maine trappers fishing for eight weeks from mid-January to mid-March.  Read the story here 08:15

Awesome Underwater Footage of a White Shark Eating a Grey Seal

shark eats grey sealResearchers at the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy snagged video this week of a white shark swimming with her meal. That’s right, the shark is a she. And she is carrying the remains of a grey seal. The shark was later identified by Marine Fisheries Biologist John Chisholm as an 11-foot female first seen last year. The footage was captured by Greg Skomal of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, who used a GoPro. Watch the video here 09:25

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

New Proposed Measures to Provide Needed Protection​s to Whales and less Economic Impact on Lobstermen

nmfs_logoBased on a request from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, and with support from the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team (i.e., fishermen, state and federal resource managers, scientists, and gear specialists), NOAA Fisheries NMFS is proposing to make additional changes to its Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan to help reduce large whale serious injuries and deaths due to entanglement in fishing gear. Click here to read more about proposed measures.  The deadline for providing public comments on these measures is November 21. 17:40 The PR version is here

Fishing data collection grants announced

sct logoData on commercial fishing is almost always described as inadequate for making sound decisions about quota and regulations. States and the federal government have formed the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program (ACCSP) to conduct research into data collecting. Read more here 11:25

Trawlers clean out coastal herring

CHATHAM — Like many who represent Cape and Islands fishermen, Alex Friedman, the president of the Dukes County Fishermen’s Association, started getting calls a week ago that eight large vessels, operating in pairs, were towing large nets the size of football fields between them and cleaning out the herring just a few miles east of Cape Cod. Read more here  14:35

Worried about the Cape’s striped bass? Look in the mirror. – A call for anglers’ self-regulation

Once again this summer, a striped bass honey hole off the coast of Chatham will make it difficult for Capegoers to appreciate the severity of the species’ overall decline. Since 2009, the Eastern Seaboard’s most prized game fish has arrived to these waters in droves. No doubt, recreational fishermen, myself included, have taken advantage. capecodtimes  Read more here  10:26

Different states with different rules sting SouthCoast fluke fishermen

sct logoPOINT JUDITH, R.I. — April 9 was a good day for Tony Borges, captain of the Sao Paulo. He only had to throw 100 pounds of fish overboard. That’s 100 pounds of fluke, roughly 33 individual fish, most of which were already dead. Read more here  08:55

Fishing stakeholders’ focus shifts from rules to survival

gdt iconPaul J. Diodati knew he was venturing into something of a maelstrom when he traveled to Gloucester on Monday night to listen to the concerns of local fishermen and stakeholders, while offering some fashion of a state of the state fisheries assessment at the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries offices on Emerson Avenue. Read [email protected]  02:58

Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) – Public Meetings Scheduled: Preserving and Protecting MA Groundfish Industry

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) is developing a plan to help protect, preserve and strengthen the Commonwealth’s commercial groundfish industry during the ongoing fishery disaster caused by substantially reduced catch limits. Schedules, and locations. Read [email protected] 11:49

PHOTOS & VIDEO: In search of great whites off Chatham, Ma

Julia, a great white shark, has arrived on Cape in May for the last few years  and usually spends until October around Chatham Inlet and Monomoy. But this year  she eschewed Chatham in favor of Orleans. “For some reason we don’t know,”  said Greg Skomal, a shark researcher with the Massachusetts Division of Marine  Fisheries. “Predictability is what you want when you try and manage beaches.” Manage BEACHES? [email protected]  09:31

Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries Sells Out It’s White Shark’s?

The below permit was just made available to me by a shark advocate on the east coast. It is the most incomplete, unprofessional, ridiculous farce for a permit I’ve ever read. [email protected]

Fishing interests begin to map strategy with joint meeting of the Mayor’s Ocean and Fisheries Council / Federal Fishing Advisory Board.

NEW BEDFORD — When fisheries regulation gets a makeover in the next year or two, the New England fishery intends to get into the debate early to impress on regulators how badly served the region has been under existing rules.sct logo That was the theme struck by Mayor Jon Mitchell Monday as he co-chaired a joint meeting of the Mayor’s Ocean and Fisheries Council with Rep. William Keating, D-Mass., representing the Federal Fishing Advisory Board.  continued

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

Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries mismanaging black sea bass fishery – John Rice, Marstons Mills

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries has changed the regulations for the commercial black sea bass fishery, which this year will open Aug. 6 with limits of 300 pounds for trap fishermen and 150 pounds for other gear types. continue