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

ITS HUGE! Grey Sole limits nearly doubled as scientists use ’empirical approach’ to set new specifications

Meeting in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the New England Fishery Management Council approved an acceptable biological catch of 878 metric tons of witch flounder, also known as grey sole, for 2017. When adjusted for management uncertainty, the move will result in a 2017 annual catch limit of 839 metric tons — nearly twice the 2016 annual catch limit of 441 metric tons. The unanimous vote by the council also underscored the escalating distrust commercial groundfishermen reserve for the science NOAA Fisheries uses to fuel its stock assessments. In December, NOAA Fisheries scientists were forced to concede that the model being used to develop the witch flounder stock assessment was irretrievably flawed after it failed the peer review phase of the process. Read the story here 07:51

New England Fishery Management Council meeting in Portsmouth January 24 thru 26, 2017

The New England Fishery Management Council will be meeting in Portsmouth N.H.  at the Sheraton Harborside. To read the final agenda, click here  Register click here to listen live via webinar. 12:06

Coral plan threatens fishing grounds

 The NEFMC is working with the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to preserve deep-sea corals from the Canadian border to Virginia. Area lobstermen could lose valuable fishing grounds if a federal proposal to close four areas of Gulf of Maine waters comes to fruition. The New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) has drafted a plan that would close a span of 161 square miles offshore to commercial fishing in an effort to conserve deep-sea coral there. Two of those areas, Mount Desert Rock in Lobster Management Zone B and Outer Schoodic Ridge in Lobster Management Zone A, are preferred fishing grounds for local fishermen when lobster head further offshore in the winter. The other proposed offshore closure areas lie in Jordan Basin and Lindenkohl Knoll to the south.  Read the story here 09:34

Atlantic Halibut under Council scrutiny as Maine’s catch increases

atlantic-halibut-1Federal fishing regulators say they are looking to change the way they manage Atlantic halibut in the wake of a surge in catch of the fish. The government lists Atlantic halibut as “overfished” and conservationists want to protect it. But many fishermen say the catch is up because the stock has been rebuilt over recent years. East Coast fishermen caught more than 215,000 pounds of Atlantic halibut in 2015 in the most productive year of fishing for the flatfish since 1972. Catch of the fish in nearshore Maine waters is helping drive the increase, regulators say. The regulatory New England Fishery Management Council decided last month to review management of halibut, which is popular with diners and chefs for its thick, meaty steaks. Exactly what form regulation changes could take isn’t yet known. We’ve identified that this is an issue, and this will be a priority for 2017,” Janice Plante, a spokeswoman for the council, said. Read the story here 08:35

Cape Cod: Summing up the seals

When David Pierce seated himself at the table at the Nantucket Seal Symposium last month, one image came to mind: private pilot Aaron Knight’s video from last April showing miles of gray seals – a dozen deep, cheek by jowl, banding the Monomoy shoreline. Recently appointed as director of the state Division of Marine Fisheries, Pierce is a veteran of decades of fisheries negotiations as former director Paul Diodati’s proxy on the New England Fishery Management Council. Fishery managers live and die by population estimates, known as stock assessments, that help set sustainable catch levels for commercial fishermen, so it was disconcerting to hear that the same level of science had not been applied to the predators who eat them. “The determination of population size is extremely important, especially in the context of ecosystem management in New England,” Pierce said. “If they (gray seals) are out there in large numbers foraging, what might their impact be on the Georges Bank ecosystem?” The answer will not be coming any time soon, according to federal fisheries officials at the symposium. Read the story here 09:43

East Coast fishermen file appeal over cost of government-required ‘at-sea monitors’

fisheries observerThe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, requires groundfishermen — those who catch cod, haddock and other common bottom-dwelling species — to carry on board “at-sea monitors.” The observers, hired by three for-profit companies, are third-party workers whose task it is to observe fishermen’s compliance with federal regulations and ensure annual quotas are not exceeded.  The dispute lies in the cost of the monitors and who should pay for them: Fishermen are billed on average $700 a day when a regulator is present. NOAA, meanwhile, says monitors were placed on fishing boats like Goethel’s only 14 percent of the time in 2016 — and claims the fishing industry supported this system of regulation in 2010 when a vote went before the New England Fishery Management Council, an advisory board to NOAA that sets the rules. “At sea monitors were originally supported by the sectors when we went from a days-at-sea form of management to a quota based form of management in 2010,” said John Bullard, the regional administrator for NOAA’s Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office.  Read the story here 14:22

Atlantic Herring MSE Workshop – Dec. 7-8 Live Streaming Information

atlantic herringDear Interested Parties, Please note that registration for the New England Fishery Management Council’s Dec. 7-8 Atlantic Herring Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) Control Rule Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) Workshop is closed.  We are at room capacity at the meeting venue. However, the Council is inviting anyone who wants to listen to the general workshop presentations to participate via webinar or telephone.  Small-group break-out discussions will not be broadcasted through the webinar.  Here are the details. Location:  Sheraton Harborside Hotel, 250 Market Street, Portsmouth, NH 03810. Time-9:00 a.m. Online access to the meeting will be available. Click here for access.  To listen by telephone, dial+1(526)247 8422.  The access code is 257-927-141. The agenda, a workshop overview, and all meeting materials are available on the Council’s website at Atlantic Herring MSE Workshop. 10:11

Effort to protect deep-sea coral has lobster industry on alert

10042762_h13584979-600x450Over 400 Maine lobstermen could lose their traditional fishing territory under a proposal to protect deep-sea corals in the Gulf of Maine. The New England Fishery Management Council is considering a plan that would ban fishing in four designated coral zones spanning about 161 miles of federal waters in the Gulf of Maine – Mount Desert Rock, Outer Schoodic Ridge, Jordan Basin and Lindenkohl Knoll. Here, often on steep rock walls deep under water where sunlight cannot penetrate, scientists have found dense, delicate and slow-growing coral gardens of sea whips, fans and pens. During the cold-weather months, when 52-year-old Jim Dow usually fishes for hard-shell lobsters in deep federal waters, his buoys will encircle Mount Desert Rock, where the lobster is so plentiful that boats will sail for hours to drop traps there. As a result, fishermen call it the Meeting Grounds. He said word is just starting to spread about the coral protection plan, but he said the fishermen he has talked with say they didn’t even know there was coral in the deep canyons below. Read the rest here 10:16

Scallop fishermen will be able to catch more next year

scallops2The New England Fishery Management Council approved rules on Wednesday that are expected to yield about 47 million pounds of scallops during the fishing year that begins in spring 2017. The decision is expected to allow fishermen to continue catching more scallops than they did just a few years ago. “We’re happy. It’s a valuable fishery right now,” said Jimmy Wotton, a Maine scallop fisherman. “People are starting to recognize it’s a top quality product, and they are willing to pay for it.” Fishermen are expected to land the extra scallops in an era when price to consumers is increasing and scallops are growing in popularity. Regulators are also allowing fishermen slightly more access to limited scallop fishing areas next year. Read the story here 17:44

New England Fishery Management Council meeting in Newport, RI November 15-17, 2016 – Listen Live

NEFMC SidebarThe New England Fishery Management Council will be meeting in at the Hotel Viking, Newport, RI November 15, 2016 –  November 17, 2016 . To read the final agenda, click here  Register here to listen live via webinar. click here  They will send you an email notification.  www.nefmc.org 19:15

Cause of Action Institute sues NOAA For New England Fishery Management Council information on member selection

cause_of_action_transparent_273_x_259In its July 13 FOIA request, Cause of Action sought information on how the Secretary of Commerce and NOAA select members in the New England Fishery Management Council, which regulates fishing off the coasts of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. “The records at issue in this case, which include records of communication between high-ranking agency officials, will permit the public to understand how the most recent round of membership selection for the NEFMC was handled, and whether that process was at all tinged by political considerations or other untoward government action,” the complaint states. Cause of Action claims that NOAA has never disclosed information about how it selects members of the eight regional regulatory councils operating under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and that the membership might not accurately represent the fishing industry. Read the rest here 10:44

New England Fishery Management Council meeting in Danvers, MA September 20 – 22, 2016

NEFMC SidebarThe New England Fishery Management Council will be meeting in Danvers, Ma. at the Double Tree by Hilton. To read the final agenda, click here  Register here to listen live via webinar. click here  They will send you an email notification.  www.nefmc.org 15:47

New England Fishery Management Council Report

NEFMC SidebarThe Council Report summarizes major actions approved at NEFMC meetings or highlights items of interest. At its June21-23 meeting in Portland, ME, the Council  approved actions  related to the  development  of its fishery management plans.  The issues  involved: Sea Scallop FW 28 and the RSA Program, Small Mesh Multisp., Amendment 22. Industry-Funded Monitoring Amendment, Atlantic Herring Amendment 8  Groundfish FW 56 and the haddock catch cap for herring midwatertrawl gear, and Other Items of Interest Read the report here 07:06

New England Fishery Management Council meeting in Portland, ME June 21- 23, 2016

NEFMC SidebarThe New England Fishery Management Council will be meeting in Portland, Me. at Holiday Inn by the Bay, 88 Spring Street, Portland, ME 0410. To read the final agenda, click here Listen live via webinar. click here   http://www.nefmc.org/  18:23

Small Boat Fishermen Worry New Rules Won’t Come in Time to Save N. Atlantic Scallops

HT_Scallop_02_jrl_160422_4x3_992A quandary over scallop rules has two groups of fishermen in Maine at odds over the increasingly lucrative shellfish. Kristan Porter, is an independent fisherman who catches lobsters for most of the year with his boat “Brandon Jay.” But for additional income, for five months each year, he and the two other men on his boat have begun collecting scallops. Eric Hansen, of New Bedford, Massachusetts, is one of the permit holders that aren’t bound by the same quota that Porter and others follow. Hansen, who typically fishes south of Maine, returned to the Gulf of Maine this year for the first time in decades. His family business obtained one of the permits back in 1994 for free that now could be sold for millions of dollars. Read the rest here 08:41

Scallop fishermen poised for fight over shellfish, fishermen and regulators to meet Wednesday

Scallop fishing has increased dramatically off some parts of New England recently, and War Cry Scallop dredge will soon meet to discuss how to avoid overexploiting the valuable shellfish. The concern over scallop fishing centers on the northern Gulf of Maine, a management area that stretches roughly from the waters off of Boston to the Canadian border. Scallop grounds off of northern Massachusetts have been especially fertile, prompting increased fishing in that area. The New England Fishery Management Council, a regulatory arm of the federal government, will hold a public meeting about the issue Wednesday (links here)and decide how to proceed. Alex Todd, a Maine-based fisherman who fishes off of Gloucester, Massachusetts, said he and others feel the rules are not equal. Read the rest here 11:46

New England Fishery Management Council meeting in Mystic, CT, April 19-21, 2016 – Listen Live!

NEFMC SidebarThe public is invited to listen in to the New England Fishery Management Council’s April 19-21, 2016 Council meeting. This meeting is scheduled to begin on Tues., April 19 at 9:00 a.m. at the Hilton Mystic, 20 Coogan Ave., Mystic, CT . On Wed. and Thurs. the meeting will start at 8:30 a.m. To view the Final Council Meeting Agenda, Click here   To register to Listen Live, Click here 12:16

CCCFA Small-boat fishermen seek to protect fishery

scallopRon Smolowitz accuses small-boat scallopers of “gaming the system” to access the Nantucket Lightship fishing area (“Working the system makes the system unworkable,” My View, April 2). As Smolowitz knows, in December New England Fishery Management Council scientists sent a memo saying there weren’t any conservation concerns with limited fishing there. The proposed access was so small it wouldn’t make sense for Smolowitz’s big-boat fishermen, catching 17,000 pounds per trip, to fish there. But small-boat fishermen can catch only 600 pounds a day, so the proposed access gives us 500 trips — which makes a huge difference for our families and community. Read the rest here 09:27

Working the system makes the system unworkable, by Ronald Smolowitz

mkAs the owner of Coonamessett Farm in Falmouth and a partner at the Woods Hole Oyster Co., I spend as much time navigating regulatory hurdles as I do tending the farm or going to sea. Many farmers and fishermen have similar fights with overbearing bureaucracy, something likely to become more common as the noose of government regulations tightens.,,Things aren’t much better out at sea. I do a substantial amount of research for the scallop industry, and sustainability is the key reason scallop management is a continued successes. Through a system of rotational management, certain zones are fished while others are left off-limits to allow them to repopulate. Much as with farmland, this system allows the resources to remain sustainable. Read the article, Click here 09:47

New England Fishermen face devastating cod cuts

cod-fishNew Bedford’s commercial fishing industry — battered by last month’s arrest of magnate Carlos Rafael on federal conspiracy charges, last week’s drug raids on the waterfront and ongoing monitoring costs — took another punch to the gut this week, as government regulators proposed new cuts to cod catches that could take effect May 1. “Those cuts will be devastating to the groundfishing fleet of New Bedford, and the whole New England coast,” said John Haran, manager of groundfish Sector 13. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in conjunction with the New England Fishery Management Council, released a proposed update Monday to the federal management plan for the northeastern fishery. Read the rest here 20:45

Rep. Bill Straus — Impact of the federal fisheries arrests in New Bedford

wstrausBy now the local reaction to the waterfront arrests in New Bedford of one of the port’s major figures has begun to shift to inevitable questions of the role of the federal government in the regulation of commercial fishing. Operating under federal law, the current groundfish system of control, the so-called “catch shares” plan, began with Amendment 16 in 2009 by vote of the New England Fishery Management Council. This intricate system of allocating by fish species what can be caught and landed by licensed federal permit holders has clearly changed the market economics for New England fishing; a rapid concentration of fish permit holders has led to what functions as a government-created near monopoly. Read the rest here 07:43

Letter: Scallop regulators threaten fishery by opening Nantucket Lightship – Eddie Welch

PewA recent controversial decision to open select scallop grounds off the coast of New England to certain select fishing groups undermines , and threatens the future health of one of the region’s most valuable resources. On Dec. 3, the New England Fishery Management Council allotted one component of the fishing fleet 300,000 pounds of scallops for harvest from an area of the Atlantic known as Nantucket Lightship. Proposed by council member and Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance CEO John Pappalardo, this allotment would open Nantucket Lightship too early, and goes against the principles that have made scallop management so successful. Read the letter here 07:59 (photo cred gulfseafoodnews.com)

Why is the NMFS calling the New Hampshire obligatory NEFMC seat vacated?

NEFMC SidebarThe state of New Hampshire has been notified by the National Marine Fisheries Service of vacancies for New Hampshire’s obligatory seat and two at-large seats for the New England Fishery Management Council. New Hampshire’s obligatory seat is held by Ellen Goethel, who is completing her first term as a council member. Read the article/notice here. The process of filling council seats requires the governor of each New England state to submit the names of at least three candidates to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce for consideration. The state of New Hampshire uses a public process to recommend individuals for the governor to consider for submission. 22:30

NEFMC Newsletter – Council Report

NEFMC SidebarDear Interested Parties: You will find attached the New England Fishery Management Council’s newsletter, the Council Report. It summarizes the actions taken at the Council’s meeting in Portsmouth, NH last week. Click here -> NEFMC Council Rept_Jan2016.pdf .Also, please feel free to contact me with any questions and have a nice weekend. Patricia M. Fiorelli, Public Affairs Officer, New England Fishery Management Council (w) 978.465.0492, ext. 106 (c) 617.548.5786[email protected] 16:45

Fishing industry fighting cost of at-sea monitors

AR-160129405.jpg&MaxW=650Fishermen are opposing new catch-monitoring costs that could take effect March 1, as a judge’s ruling this week gave the industry a setback in efforts to block the transition from government funding. John Haran of Dartmouth, manager of a local fishery sector, said in December that transferring the regulatory costs to the fishing industry could put more than 40 local groundfishing boats out of business. Local fishing industry tycoon Carlos Rafael said the costs — potentially about $700 per monitored trip — could mean repeated expenses of $14,000 across 20 groundfishing boats in his fleet. Read the article here 07:50

New England Fishery Management Council meeting in Portsmouth, NH January 26 thru 28, 2016

NEFMC Sidebar

The New England Fishery Management Council and its advisory bodies will meet at the Sheraton Harborside Hotel, 250 Market Street, Portsmouth, NH January 26 thru 28, 2016 . View the Final Council Meeting Agenda, Click here  Register to Listen Live, Click here 16:20

Why is it wrong for the fishermen to bring a lawsuit but is alright for Mr. Shelly’s CLF to profit from lawsuits?

CLF’s Peter Shelley at Talking Fish wrote: Blowing Up the New England Fishery Management Council. He won’t post the rebuttal comments but we will!

Comment on Talking Fish that doesn’t seem to be accepted. Mr. Shelly and CLF make a living from suing NOAA and fishing for dollars. For that they get nonprofit tax status. So the taxpayers pay twice 1) for nonprofit status and 2) because they file so many lawsuits they win by default (a scam all NGOs have perfected). Unlike fishermen who do pay taxes and support local economies. Contrary to Mr. Shelly’s claim the majority of people on the councils are not fishermen, and one of the so called fishermen that is on the council is a paid spokesman for the ENGOs (John Pappalardo).

This lawsuit is about fishermen having to pay 2-10 percent of their gross income to pay for monitors. What other industry pays to be monitored and at these percentages, the farmers don’t, the beef industry doesn’t, the pharmaceutical companies don’t, the oil companies don’t. Imagine the  outcry if Exxon Mobil had to pay 2 percent of their gross income on top of other taxes.
Why is it wrong for the fishermen to bring a lawsuit but is alright for Mr. Shelly’s CLF to profit from lawsuits?
Maybe it is time that we look at the NONPROFIT status of all these groups.
We couldn’t agree more. 15:59

Questions schooling around at-sea fishing monitors – NOAA says money to run out in February

The battle over the cost and scope of at-sea monitoring of Northeast groundfish vessels, now being played out on various regulatory and legal platforms, promises a hectic end to the current fishing season and a complex start to the next. There are no shortage of questions. When will the federal government run out of money and shift the responsibility for paying for observers to the permit holders? And what of the Goethel lawsuit filed with the support of Cause for Action, the nonprofit government watchdog agency? Read the article here. 08:10

Our View: New England Fishery Management Council needs to take a new tack

dave goethelA New Hampshire cod fisherman has sued the National Oceanic and Atmospheric and Administration over the hardship looming when he is required to pay for at-sea monitors. Monitors are required on a certain percentage of fishing vessels to satisfy regulations meant to reduce waste of the resource at sea and protect the fishery. David Goethel’s suit is appropriate mainly because he puts his boat into a fishery that was declared a disaster in 2012 by the Commerce Department, NOAA’s parent. Fish biomass for several species, including cod and some flounders, has rapidly eroded the opportunity for success for groundfishermen like him. Read the op-ed here 11:10

New England States prepare to review new rules for herring fishery

atlantic herringThe new year will soon be here, and with it comes a new round of significant changes to the rules governing the herring fishery. Next week, the Department of Marine Resources will hold a public hearing on what is known as “Draft Amendment 3 to the Interstate Management Plan for Atlantic Herring.” Hearings are also scheduled in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. According to the ASMFC, the new rules would affect the inshore Gulf of Maine — called Area 1A — herring fishery to reflect changes in both the herring resource and the fishery itself. Read the article here 08:30

NEFMC proposal would limit access to hake fishery – concerns “over unrestrained increases in fishing effort”

NEFMC SidebarThe New England Fishery Management Council is hosting a public meeting tonight in Gloucester as an initial step in possibly drafting an amendment that would modify the small-mesh multispecies fishery into a limited access fishery. Currently, the small-mesh multispecies fishery, which includes whiting (silver hake), red hake and offshore hake, is an open fishery, accessible to any fisherman with the appropriate permit. The proposal to limit access to the fishery is based in in the small-mesh fishery, the council said. Read the article here  08:13

New England Fishery Management Council meeting in Portland Me. – December 1st thru 3rd – Listen Live!

NEFMC SidebarThe New England Fishery Management Council and its advisory bodies will meet December 1 thru 3, 2015 Holiday Inn by the Bay, Portland, Me. View the Revised Council Meeting Agenda, Click hereRegister to Listen Live, Click here Starts 8:30 a.m. with Introductions and Announcements (Council Chairman Terry Stockwell) 17:27

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

FishNet USA/Update – So how’s that “catch shares” revolution working out for groundfish?

10172769-largeFrom Nils Stolpe – Alternating with original FishNet USA articles I will be going back to pieces I’ve written (for FishNet and other outlets) over the past 19 years – isn’t it amazing how fast time goes when you’re having fun? – to see how accurate I was in identifying industry trends and predicting what their impacts were going to be. Rather than redistributing the original articles I’ll link to them on the web and try to keep these updates to two pages or under. The original for this update from March, 2014 can be read here    Read the rest here. 13:31

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

Fight the threat to Maine workers – Governor Paul R. LePage

“A National Marine Monument putting Cashes Ledge and undersea canyons and seamounts in the Gulf of Maine off-limits to commercial fishing activity will affect Maine’s offshore lobstermen, tuna fishermen, herring fishermen and groundfish fishermen. Moreover, this comes on the heels of a roughly 10-year habitat amendment process at the New England Fishery Management Council. It looks like environmental interest groups that are unhappy with that process are now going to a higher authority to upend the result achieved by the council. Procedurally, this type of end-run is a terrible precedent. Read the rest here 11:26

Being ignored at the Council or being publicly called an “asshole” by the Council Chairman doesn’t often make the news

nefmc_feb1Catch Shares Take Toll Council Called To Task – At the April New England Fishery Management Council meeting in Mystic, Conn., a dozen university students from New England, members of fishing families, other fishing organizations, and community organizer Brett Tolley were in attendance. About a dozen people among this group wore orange “Who Fishes Matters” T-shirts. Continue reading  An Open Letter to Tom Nies from a Fishing Family Member – Dear Mr. Nies, As Executive Director of the New England Fishery Management Council you should know how fishermen and the public experience the Council’s so-called “democratic process.” Read the letter here 18:10

Emergency action needed on at-sea monitoring – Jackie Odell, Northeast Seafood Coalition

966382_576848379002335_599159690_oNOAA Fisheries announced last week that funding for the at-sea monitoring program for groundfish fishermen operating under sectors will now extend through Oct. 31. This announcement was made less than a week after NOAA Fisheries denied the New England Fishery Management Council’s request to initiate an emergency action to suspend the program temporarily until a full evaluation, including a cost-benefit analysis, of the program is conducted. Read the rest here 15:51

New England: Catch accountability should take place at the dock

g0002580000000000000bea0810c3a6cac2be28188b42d824fdbd10e7d9NOAA’s denial of the New England Fishery Management Council’s June request to suspend at-sea monitoring has satisfied environmental groups, but it serves as the latest example of their inappropriate and misguided influence in management of the Northeast fisheries. The Management Council had asked the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for emergency relief, as the cost of at-sea monitoring shifted from the government to the fishermen, a $700-$800 cost per trip. Fishermen and regulators alike anticipate that it will make a more trips unprofitable. Read the rest here 12:39

At Sea Monitoring – “Catch accountability for the groundfish industry is not optional,” NOAA Regional Administrator John K. Bullard

130307_GT_ABO_BULLARD_1NOAA has denied the request by the New England Fishery Management Council in June to use emergency measures to immediately suspend at-sea monitoring for vessels in the Northeast multispecies groundfish fishery. In a letter dated July 30, NOAA Regional Administrator John K. Bullard said the council’s request did not meet any of the criteria for emergency action. The council’s request to suspend at-sea monitoring was viewed as long shot from the moment it was passed,,, Read the rest here 09:27

NEFMC and NMFS Seek Comments on Amendment 18 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan

The New England Fishery Management Council has been developing  Amendment 18 to the for several years. The notice of availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Amendment 18 published today in the Federal Register. The DEIS is open for comments through August 31. More information, including dates and times of public meetings, is available on our website and on the Council’s website Read the rest here 15:41

Longtime Fisherman Weighs In On New England Fishery Management Councils Recent Votes

The New England Fishery Management Council made the right move recently, voting to ask the federal government to suspend an at-sea monitoring program required of the groundfish industry, according to long-time fishermen Fred Mattera, who said shifting the cost to fishermen could decimate the industry. Mattera said fishermen area also pleased with the council’s vote to re-open areas in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank to commercial fishing. (photo)  Read the rest here 09:49

New England Fishery Management Council asks NOAA to suspend monitoring

observer sean sullivanThe commercial fishing industry won two big battles at the bruising New England Fishery Management Council meetings this week, the first on habitat and the final on the council’s vote to seek emergency measures to suspend the bulk of at-sea monitoring of groundfish boats for the remainder of the 2015 fishing season.“The science center doesn’t have the money and the industry doesn’t have the money. But that doesn’t mean we can just get rid of monitoring. We need the monitoring for accountability and suspending it is just not good policy.” John Bullard Read the rest here 09:25

New England Fishery Management Council meeting in Newport, RI – June 16, thru June 18, 2015 – Listen Live!

NEFMC SidebarThe New England Fishery Management Council and its advisory bodies will meet June 16 – 18, 2015 at Hotel Viking, Newport, RI. View the Revised Council Meeting Agenda, Click hereRegister to Listen Live, Click here Starts 8:30 a.m. with Introductions and Announcements (Council Chairman Terry Stockwell) 10:57

NEFMC Groundfish Committee Wants Emergency Action To Suspend Fishing Monitors

The New England Fishery Management Council’s wants the council to request emergency action from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The issue is on the agenda for a June 18 meeting of the council in Newport, Rhode Island. Many groundfishermen say they can’t afforded the added cost of the monitors. The monitors are hired from private companies and their primary job is to collect data about discarded fish. Read the rest here 13:00

UMass researchers win scallop fisheries grants

smastSMAST won $373,922 for Dr. Kevin Stokesbury’s continued development of video scallop surveys on Georges Bank. His methods have revolutionized the scallop biomass estimates in recent years, helping turn scallops into the species that keeps New Bedford at the top earning port in the United States for more than a decade. A grant of $160,738 went to Dr. Catherine O’Keefe for further development of a bycatch avoidance system that collects real-time information from fishermen about “hot spots” of yellowtail flounder, which can then be avoided by the scallopers. Read the rest here 08:34

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

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

New England Fishery Management Council expected to vote on opening scallop grounds

TraditionThe New England Fishery Management Council on Thursday will take up the subject of opening parts of Georges Bank to scallop fishing, in some cases after closures of 20 years that led to an untapped abundance of scallops, according to surveys. Wednesday’s meeting of the council, day two of three, offered a preview of how the council, and by extension NOAA Fisheries, intends to proceed. “Don’t be bullied” by the environmentalists, Maggie Raymond of the Associated Fisheries of Maine urged the 17-member council. Read the rest here 09:22

Scallop Fleet Responds to NMFS Criticism of NEFMC Habitat Recommendations

mkLast week, NOAA Fisheries Regional Administrator John Bullard submitted a nine-page letter to the  (NEFMC) critical of recommendations made to the full Council by the Council’s Habitat Committee on Omnibus Habitat Amendment 2 (OHA2) . OHA2 is a decade-in-the-making overhaul of the habitat closures off the coast of New England, reflecting the best scientific understanding of the Northwest Atlantic seafloor. Read the rest here  Read Administrator Bullard’s letter in full here Read the FSF rebuttal to Administrator Bullard’s letter in full here. 11:57

Omnibus Habitat Amendment 2 – Our View: Lift fishery restrictions to do good for all

130307_GT_ABO_BULLARD_1The New England Fishery Management Council votes this week on recommendations by the council’s Habitat Committee to lift restrictions in three closed areas. NOAA Fisheries Regional Administrator John Bullard and at least one environmental group are arguing against it because NOAA scientists are saying it would harm important spawning areas for species like cod, haddock and yellowtail flounder. (Which is bull shit!) Read the rest here 08:41

Some better news for haddock, and fishermen. Really?

THE GLOOMY clouds hanging over New England’s fisheries lifted a bit last week when the NOAA reported that several species were no longer overfished off US shores, including haddock in the Gulf of Maine. Regardless, a battle continues between the fishing industry, environmentalists, and regulators as to the extent that some types of fishing affect the ocean floor’s ecosystem. In a new effort to study those impacts, the New England Fishery Management Council is expected to vote Thursday on creating a 55-square-nautical-mile reference research area. Read the rest here 07:44

New England Fishery Management Council to meet in April 22 and 23 in Mystic, CT – Listen Live!

NEFMC SidebarThe Agenda and schedule of the meeting can be viewed here, Register for the webinar presentation here The council has generously set aside 15 minutes for Public Comments! 16:30

Environmental Defense Fund — Fishery vote should protect more habitat

This Thursday, the New England Fishery Management Council will finally vote on the wolf-in-sheeps-clothing-scaled500-e1371562470325, the culmination of a multi-year process of creating, eliminating and modifying fishery closed areas in New England’s waters. As is often the case in New England fisheries, this decision has become highly contentious. Many fishermen oppose what they see as added restrictions on their ability to fish. For its part, the council seems intent on retaining the smallest amount of closed area it can get away with,,, Read the rest here 08:27

Scallop Sparks flying in advance of New England Fishery Management Council meeting

mkThe scallop industry is on high alert over next week’s meeting of the New England Fishery Management Council after a long warning letter was sent to the council by NOAA Fisheries Regional Administrator John Bullard. The council’s Habitat Committee has issued recommendations that fishing restrictions be lifted on several areas of Georges Bank, the Gulf of Maine and the South Channel. But Bullard, backed by his agency’s scientific staff, said he believes that the relaxing of the restrictions would set back the effort to nurse fish stocks back to health. Read the rest here 22:03

NEFMC giving $450K to fish research projects

NEFMC SidebarThe New England Fishery Management Council is funding the work. One project will seek to develop ways for cod and haddock fishermen to avoid accidentally catching flatfish in Georges Bank. Another will assess the performance of fishing gear designed to avoid accidental catch of windowpane flounder. A third project seeks to improve capture and handling methods for haddock discarded in recreational Gulf of Maine fisheries. A final project will assess recreational haddock discard mortality on Jeffreys Ledge. Read the rest here 06:54

New England Fishery Management Council newsletter

NEFMC SidebarClick here to read the actions and announcements following the last council meeting. 17:17:

New England Fishery Management Council reject expanded protections for herring

In a decision lauded by state regulators and decried by environmentalists, federal regulators ruled this week that a plan to extend greater conservation efforts to river herring is not necessary at this time. There is a need for more data to assess river herring and shad stocks, but the factors affecting the species include water quality and fish passage, which are difficult to address through federal management plans, said Jeff Nichols, a spokesman for the state Department of Marine Resources. Read the rest here 14:25

Habitat Hearings over, New England Fishery Management Council tackles options

Federal regulators are deciding the scope of a management plan for thousands of square miles of fishing grounds off New England that has deeply divided fishermen and conservationists. The is working on the long-awaited plan for federal waters from Maine to Rhode Island. It includes a host of options including opening areas closed to fishing and adding new restrictions to open areas. Read the rest here 09:11

Conflict looms over effort to reopen protected Gulf of Maine fishing ground

cashes ledgeUnder the “preferred option” being considered by the council, the more than 500-square-mile closure zone would shrink by roughly 70 percent. All mobile “bottom-tending” fishing gear – such as draggers and trawlers that can disturb the sea floor – would remain banned around Ammen Rock and most of the ledge proper. But fishermen could resume targeting haddock, cod, pollock and other groundfish in surrounding mudflats that the council deemed “less vulnerable to accumulating adverse effects.” Read the rest here 08:10