Tag Archives: new-england-fishery-management-council

NEFMC Seeks Input From Fishermen and Research Partners on RSA Programs; Take the Online Survey!

The New England Fishery Management Council is asking fishermen and their cooperative research partners who participate in the Atlantic Sea Scallop, Atlantic Herring, and/or Monkfish Research Set-Aside (RSA) Programs to take an online survey and provide feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of these programs and pass along any suggestions for improvement. Other stakeholders who have an interest or role in RSA programs also are encouraged to take the survey.,,, The survey, which contains roughly 40 questions, will be available online until mid-September 2018. >click to read<17:02

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

Maine: Pending bait shortage poses another threat to New England lobster industry

Regulators want to cap this year’s herring landings at last year’s levels, or 50,000 metric tons, and slash next year’s quota of the most popular lobster bait from 110,000 to 30,000 metric tons. They want to do this to offset record low numbers of newborn herring that are entering the fishery to replace those that are caught, eaten by other predators or die from natural causes. The 2019 quota could fall even lower if regulators adopt a separate proposal to leave more herring in the sea to feed the fish, birds and marine mammals that eat them, including Gulf of Maine species such as cunner, cod, seals, whales, puffins and terns. The New England Fishery Management Council could decide the issue as early as September. Eco-based Management. >click to read<10:51

NEFMC – Whiting Amendment 22: Five Hearings to Consider Limited Access Program for Small-Mesh Multispecies

The New England Fishery Management Council has scheduled five public hearings on Draft Amendment 22 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. This amendment proposes to establish a limited access program for five stocks of small-mesh species: northern silver hake, southern silver hake, and offshore hake –collectively referred to as “whiting” –as well as northern red hake and southern red hake. The amendment contains three components: (1) limited access qualification criteria; (2) silver and offshore hake possession limit alternatives; and (3) permit “characteristics and conditions” that could apply if limited access is adopted. Although the Council voted in December 2017 to send Amendment 22 out to public hearing with “no action” as its preferred alternative,public input is highly encouraged on all options. Public Hearing Schedule, Gloucester, Tinton Falls, NJ, Montauk, Warwick, New Bedford  >click to read<17:08

Fishermen Urge Regulators to Establish 50-Mile Buffer Zone for Herring Trawlers

Local fishermen and elected officials from across Cape Cod strongly urged fishery managers Tuesday to impose a strict 50 mile buffer zone for mid-water herring trawlers. At an overflow meeting in the Chatham Community Center, they said the vessels are wiping out the herring, negatively impacting the local fishing industry and related economies. The New England Fishery Management Council is considering changes in the rules that govern the trawlers and has been taking comments at various ports around New England. >click to read<11:05

Halibut landings up, so Maine halibut landings to go down

Just as in the physical world, it’s a quirk of the regulatory world of fisheries management that when something goes up, something must go down, and it isn’t always the same thing. Last week, the Department of Marine Resources held a series of public hearings in Ellsworth, Machias and Augusta on a proposed regulation that would shorten the Maine halibut fishing season by 20 days, cut the number of allowable hooks for halibut fishing on each boat and ban possession of halibut by fishermen who have state-issued halibut tags who have been fishing outside the three-mile state waters limit. >click to read<10:55

New England Fishery Management Council meeting in Portland, ME June 12 -14, 2018

The New England Fishery Management Council will be meeting at Holiday Inn by the Bay, Portland, ME, To read the final agenda, >click here< Register for webinar >click here< to listen live. 08:13

Mashpee Selectmen Push To Move Herring Trawlers Off The Coast

The New England Fishery Management Council, a federal entity, will host several public hearings to solicit comments on possible alternatives under consideration in an amendment to the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan. More specifically, the council is seeking feedback from the public on which alternatives should be selected and why. One of those amendments includes forcing fishing vessels called midwater trawlers 12 miles off the Cape Cod shore.,,, But the operators of these midwater trawlers contest the proposed amendment,,, Mary Beth Tooley, a representative of O’Hara Corporation in Maine, says that about 80 percent of the Maine lobster fishery uses herring as bait. “That’s thousands of lobstermen that will be impacted,” >click to read<20:13

Despite sector shuffle, New Bedford fishermen will still be…

Whispers filled the convention room at the Hilton Wednesday as the dozens in attendance attempted to count the raised hands, which signified votes of the New England Fishery Management Council. The three attempts to accurately tally the votes only added to the drama of a discussion that involved a groundfishing ban that’s affected New Bedford since November. In the end, the vote didn’t provide a resolution for those fishermen out of work and the shoreside business affected by the ban. <click to read<18:27

New England Fishery Management Council meeting in Mystic, Ct. April 17 — 19, 2018

The New England Fishery Management Council will be meeting in Mystic, CT Hilton Hotel, 20 Coogan Boulevard, April 17 — 19, 2018.  To read the final agenda, >click here< Register for webinar >click here< to listen live 11:09

New England Fishery Management Council to hear Sector IX’s post-Rafael plans

The New England Fishery Management Council will be updated on the groundfish crisis involving several New Bedford-based fishing sectors when it convenes for three days of meetings next week in Mystic, Connecticut. The groundfish presentation by staff from the Gloucester-based Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office will be the centerpiece of the groundfish report on Wednesday and is designed to provide “an overview of (Northeast Fishing) Sector IX’s steps to address its shortcomings, as well as a summary of Sector IX’s operations plan,” according to the agenda for the meetings. >click to read<19:26

Fishermen hope for long-term solution to At-Sea Monitoring costs

The federal budget bill approved last month includes millions of dollars to pay for workers who are required to join fishing trips off New England’s shores. But it’s a temporary fix. And for the few groundfishermen left, the cost could be too much to take on themselves. David Goethel has been groundfishing off Hampton’s coast for 51 years and says a lot has changed. “We’ve lost in New Hampshire about 95 percent of our active fishermen in the last 17 years,”,, >click to read<11:24

WEATHER UPDATE: NEFMC Program Review, Tuesday, March 13 modifications, to accommodate remote public comments

Due to the incoming winter storm, the New England Fishery Management Council will provide an opportunity for members of the public to speak remotely via webinar during scheduled public comment periods on Tuesday, March 13 during the first day of the Council Program Review. Here’s what you need to know.,, Panel members will be arriving in advance of the storm, and the review meeting will proceed on schedule.,,, Therefore, the New England Council is expanding the webinar option to accommodate remote public comments during the storm. At present, this option will be available only on Tuesday, March 13. Register for the webinar >click to register/listen/comment<>click to read the updated info< 12:35

Hitting the Trail: NOAA’s GARFO leader looks to cultivate culture of collaboration

As debuts go, Mike Pentony’s first day on the job as the regional director for NOAA’s Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office was a corker. The federal government marked his ascension on Jan. 22 as only the federal government can — shutting down all but the most essential government services as a consequence of the usual congressional mumbley-peg. “My first action was to come in and proceed with the orderly shutdown of government operations,” Pentony said recently during an interview in the corner office on the uppermost floor of GARFO headquarters in Gloucester’s Blackburn Industrial Park. The respite was short-lived. The shutdown lasted a day. >click to read< 23:52

Don Cuddy – SMAST codfish counting innovation looks promising

Last December the New England Fishery Management Council voted to increase the amount of cod available to commercial fishermen in the Gulf of Maine by 39% for the 2018 fishing year. This is welcome news. New England fishermen have endured some lean years since 2013 when the cod quota was slashed by 78 percent after new data incorporated into the 2011 assessment indicated that the stock was lower than previously estimated-obviously a great deal lower. Estimating how many codfish might be out there at any given time is the greatest challenge facing fishery managers and the numbers have been subject of much controversy, with fishermen continually decrying the “best available science” as inadequate. >click to read< 19:25

Education key to electronic reporting, monitoring systems

In a perfect world, Steve Kennelly sees the New England Fishery transitioning to electronic reporting within the next year. “There’s no reason why that group can’t be formed pretty soon,” the director of IC Independent Consulting said. The next step would be implementing electronic monitoring within 3 to 4 years. “It’s silly to talk anywhere beyond five years out” because of how fast technology continues to evolve, Kennelly said. The New England Fishery Management Council, which concluded two days of meetings on Wednesday in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, resides in an imperfect world, though. >click here to read< 18:34 

Feds vote to protect more corals in Atlantic Ocean

Federal fishing regulators on Tuesday approved a compromise they said would expand the amount of coral habitat preserved in the Atlantic Ocean while also protecting fishing interests. The New England Fishery Management Council voted on coral protections in an area south of Georges Bank, which is one of the most important commercial fishing areas in the Northeast. The decision came about seven months after the council approved protections in another key New England fishing area, the Gulf of Maine, in June. >click here to read< 17:50 

New England Fishery Management Council meeting January 30-31, 2018 in Portsmouth, NH

The New England Fishery Management Council will be meeting at the Sheraton Harborside, Portsmouth, NH . To read the final agenda, click here Register for webinar click here to listen live 14:34

John Bullard: SectorIX board’s failure to act stopped its fishing

For New Englanders, Atlantic cod is not just another fish. The Sacred Cod that hangs in the Massachusetts State House is a testament to the cod’s place in our culture and history. For centuries, we fished for cod, as we watched the stock decline, we tried various ways to protect the resource this is considered as much a birthright as a commodity. In 2009, the New England Fishery Management Council under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, agreed to try a system called “catch shares” which worked well on the West Coast. click here to read the op-ed 20:52 

“Groundbreaking” Fish Protection Plan in Place

On Wednesday, January 3, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), also known as NOAA Fisheries, informed the New England Fishery Management Council that it had “approved the majority” of the Council’s Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat Amendment 2 (OHA2). The approved provisions include two actions that have a direct impact on Framework Adjustment 29 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan, which, among other measures, contains 2018 fishing year specifications and 2019 default specifications for the scallop fishery. click here to read the press release 17:35

“Groundbreaking” Fish Protection Plan in Placeclick here to read the story

PFD’s: Fishing is a deadly business, but many fishermen won’t wear life preservers

One rogue wave or false step, an ankle caught in a line, is all it takes to cast a fisherman overboard. But those risks have never been enough to convince Rick Beal that it’s worth wearing a life preserver. Even though he has never learned how to swim. Commercial fishing ranks among the most dangerous professions, but fishermen — fiercely independent and resistant to regulations — have long shunned life preservers, often dismissing the flotation devices as inconvenient and constraining. click here to read the story 14:46 

Officials: Whales, After Deadly Year, Could Become Extinct

Officials with the federal government say it’s time to consider the possibility that endangered right whales could become extinct unless new steps are taken to protect them.,,,  The situation is so dire that American and Canadian regulators need to consider the possibility that the population won’t recover without action soon, said John Bullard, the Northeast Regional Administrator for NOAA Fisheries.  click here to read the story 09:39

Fisheries council boosts Gulf of Maine quotas for cod, haddock, pollock

The New England Fishery Management Council voted to increase cod and pollock quotas for 2018, a move that is expected to benefit New England’s fishing industry. The council passed a rule Thursday that sets new quotas and has a number of other groundfish adjustments. The species with substantial quota increases are Georges Bank cod, Gulf of Maine cod, Gulf of Maine haddock and pollock. The redfish quota will rise by 5 percent. click here to read the story 10:03

Big changes could be coming to East Coast herring fishery

Federal fishing regulators are considering changing the way they manage one of the largest fisheries on the East Coast to better account for its impact on the environment and other industries. The regulatory New England Fishery Management Council has released a group of alternatives for how it could change management of Atlantic herring. The small, schooling fish are harvested from Maine to Florida and are used for fish oil, food for humans and bait for fishermen and lobstermen. click here to read the story 20:22

Atlantic Herring: Council Votes to Send Draft Amendment 8 Out to Public Hearing With No Preferred Alternatives

The New England Fishery Management Council today voted to send Draft Amendment 8 to the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan out to public hearing without selecting any “preferred” alternatives. Given the wide range of opinions expressed by many stakeholders about this action, the Council is expecting a large degree of public engagement during the hearings, which will be held in early 2018. The Council will make final decisions later in the year after considering all public comments. The amendment is divided into two major components. ABC Control Rule, and Potential Localized Depletion and User Conflicts click here to read the press release 19:19

New England Fishery Management Council Meeting December 5-7, 2017 in Newport, RI

The New England Fishery Management Council will be meeting at the Hotel Viking, 1 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI 02840. To read the final agenda, click here Register click here to listen live 16:57

Fishermen to managers: Our voices are ignored

The New England Fishery Management Council sent its program review roadshow to Gloucester on Tuesday night to gather opinions on the council’s performance and the fishery managers were not spared the lash. The comments delivered Tuesday night at the sparsely attended meeting at the state Division of Marine Fisheries Annisquam Station facility certainly were not new, at least not to anyone who has spent any time speaking with local fishermen about life under the regulatory gaze of the council. They revolved around a strong belief among local fishermen that management decisions affecting the fishery are made well before the council convenes its public meetings and the scientific data and on-the-water-expertise of local fishermen are ignored or demeaned when it comes to forming policy. click here to read the story 21:37

NEFMC Undertakes Independent Review to Assess Past Performance and Solicit Suggestions for Improvement

The New England Fishery Management Council is undergoing an independent review to: (1) assess past performance; (2) gather feedback on strengths and weaknesses of the Council process and operations; and (3) identify potential areas for improvements. Stakeholder input is critical to this review. The Council is encouraging commercial and recreational fishermen, industry leaders, fishery managers, members of non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders to participate in the effort. ONLINE SURVEY – Port meetings from Maine to New Jersey click here to read the information 21:30

Little hope in latest evaluations of codfish – NEFMC SSC Meeting, October 23-24, 2017, Live Streaming Information

The completed operational assessments to help determine 2018-2020 groundfish quotas do not appear to be any more optimistic about the state of Gulf of Maine cod than those that effectively shuttered the fishery in the fall of 2014. The New England Fishery Management Council’s science and statistical committee is set to meet Monday and Tuesday in Boston to review the assessments for 19 groundfish species and finalize its catch recommendations to the full council.   click here to read the story 07:31

NEFMC SSC Meeting, October 23-24, 2017, Live Streaming Information –  Meeting materials (click here) Online access to the meeting (click here)

NEFMC commitee votes to protect corals in Gulf of Maine

Federal regulars have decided to protect two areas in the Gulf of Maine that are home to slow-growing corals. The protected areas encompass almost 40 square miles and are called Outer Schoodic Ridge and Mt. Desert Rock. The areas would still be open to lobster fishing but not to bottom trawling. A committee of the New England Fishery Management Council voted on the protections on Thursday. click here to read the story 14:43