Tag Archives: Northeast Fisheries Science Center

14 Stocks Reviewed, 2019 Northeast Groundfish Operational Assessment Report is Available

Pre-publication copies of our report on the 2019 operational assessments for 14 Northeast groundfish stocks are now available. The document will be reformatted later for publication in an NEFSC document series, but the content will not change. You may download the pdf version of the document >click here to review< . For more information or assistance obtaining a copy of the report Ariele Baker, NEFSC Population Dynamics Branch, 508.495.4741

Troubling questions, concerns raised about off-shore wind farms

Oceanographer Jon Hare listed the effects of offshore wind development on the marine environment. There’s disturbance to the sea floor during installation of turbine platforms.,,,“Putting a pile into the sediment in essence is habitat alteration,” said Hare, a science and research director with Northeast Fisheries Science Center.,,The questions about offshore wind, of course, aren’t limited to the $2.8-billion Vineyard Wind project,,,,but there are more than a dozen proposals in the works all along the Atlantic Coast and plans for the Great Lakes and the West Coast. >click to read< 21:06

The best available science? – Backing lobstermen, Rep. Golden seeks to withhold funds for right whale protections

“The federal government is asking Maine lobstermen to make huge sacrifices without clear evidence that those sacrifices will have any positive impact on right whales,” Golden wrote in a statement Wednesday. “I’ve joined lobstermen to voice our concerns and now it’s time for action. Golden said it is important to help the right whale, but he joined the Maine lobster industry and Maine’s fishing managers in a common refrain: the federal government has no conclusive proof that right whales are getting hurt or killed by entanglement in Maine lobster gear. >click to read> 09:46

Assessment Oversight Panel (AOP) meeting for Monkfish, Scup, Bluefish, Black Sea Bass, May 20, 2019,

The Northeast Fisheries Science Center would like to inform you of the 2019 stock assessments.,,, There will be several sets of assessments conducted this year, and the assessment process begins for Scup, Bluefish, Black Sea Bass, and Monkfish on Monday May 20, 2019 with a panel review of scientific information and assessment plans (details below). After this plan review, the assessments will be conducted and later peer reviewed in 2019. Attend In Person, >click to read< or online, >click to register<13:59

2019-2020 Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside Awards Announced

Northeast Fisheries Science Center and the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) have selected 13 projects for awards through the Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside (RSA) Program. The awards are expected to generate more than $14 million; $2.8 million to fund research, and $11.4 million to compensate industry partners who harvest set-aside quota.,,, Among the research projects that will be supported this year are automated image annotation for optical scallop surveys, testing different scallop dredges for efficiency and performance, and development of a high-resolution model to assess the potential impact of offshore wind resource facilities on the regional fishery industry.>click to read<16:42

NOAA scientist: Offshore wind projects will likely affect viability of fishery surveys

At a special session of the New England Fisheries Management Council covering offshore wind, Wendy Gabriel, of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, outlined a wide number of concerns for the organization regarding the development of wind power along the coast. Chief among the concerns was the organization’s ability to continue conducting viable fishery surveys – which provide much of the data that the council uses to establish fishing quotas. “The bottom-line here is, nearly all of the long-term fishery independent surveys that have coverage will be affected,” she said during the session. >click to read<10:06

This summer crisis could take the steam

This year federal authorities are imposing a steep reduction, and a few regions of the East Coast are restricted to fishing, months prior to the lobster season gets rolling. East Coast herring fishermen brought over 200 million pounds of these fish to docks lately as 2014, but the catch of this year will be limited to less than a fifth of that total. The cut scrambling for fresh lure sources, is leaving with herring for generations in Maine lobstermen, who have baited traps and concerned about their capacity to find lobster. >click to read< 12:40

Bait crisis could take the steam out of lobster this summer

Members of the lobster business fear a looming bait crisis could disrupt the industry during a time when lobsters are as plentiful, valuable and in demand as ever. America’s lobster catch has climbed this decade, especially in Maine, but the fishery is dependent on herring,,, The loss of herring is also a heavy blow to the fishermen who harvest the species, said Jeff Kaelin, who works in government relations for Lund’s Fisheries, a herring harvester based in Cape May, New Jersey. >click to read<13:18

DON CUDDY: Whales, fish stocks and new tech: Catching up with NOAA’s Jon Hare

I was pleased to enjoy a wide-ranging chat with Mr. Jon Hare last week. Jon is the Science and Research Director for NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole. That’s the division of NOAA that is charged with managing “the living marine resources of the Northeast Continental Shelf Ecosystem from the Gulf of Maine to Cape Hatteras.” So this man has a lot on his plate. When he began working as director in 2017 I interviewed him about the task ahead and did a follow up last year. So in what has now become an annual event we sat down to talk about how things are going at the Science Center and I found the encounter as interesting as ever. >click to read<18:40

NOAA Calls for Protection of Female North Atlantic Right Whales

NOAA Fisheries researchers and colleagues are taking a closer look as to why the endangered western North Atlantic right whale population is growing at far more slower rate than that of southern right whales, a sister species also recovering from near extinction by commercial whaling. Researchers and colleagues looked at the question and have concluded that preserving the lives of adult females in the population is the most effective way to promote population growth and recovery. Most of these deaths are attributed to entanglement in fishing gear and collisions with ships. The findings are reported in Royal Society Open Science. >click to read<17:37

ASMFC block Northern shrimp harvesting for 3 more years

Citing continuing concerns that further fishing could drive the species to extinction, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted Friday to cancel not only the 2019 Maine shrimp season, but the 2020 and 2021 seasons as well. Commissioners from New Hampshire and Massachusetts supported the closure, while Patrick Keliher, commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, voted no, according to Tina Berger of the commission. DMR spokesman Jeff Nichols said in an email that Keliher would have supported a one-year moratorium. >click to read<17:59

NOAA scientists admit a gaffe on risk to whales of lobster trap lines

Late last month, the NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center released a “technical memorandum” suggesting that expensive efforts by Maine lobstermen aimed at reducing the risk that endangered North Atlantic right whales and other large whales would become entangled in vertical buoy lines had backfired. According to the memorandum, issued just before a weeklong meeting of NOAA’s Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team in Providence, R.I., to consider possible changes to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan, when the industry increased the number of traps trawled together and marked by a single buoy line, lobstermen began using stronger rope. That worsened the entanglement problem. >click to read <13:01

Falmouth and New Bedford Battle Across Buzzards Bay for Northeast Fisheries Science Center

A dispute across Buzzards Bay may break out between Falmouth and the City of New Bedford. The Falmouth Board of Selectmen has been working to keep the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole. Other elected officials in the area have also been lobbying for NOAA to keep the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole for weeks. >click to read<17:36

Whale protection, trawl limits entangle Zone C lobstermen

October is a peak month, according to the state Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, for feistiness in Maine’s population of hornets and wasps. Lobstermen too, judging by last week’s meeting of the Zone C Lobster Management Council at Deer Isle-Stonington High School.,, While the trawl rule was at the forefront of last week’s debate, lurking just below the surface was a technical memorandum issued late last month by the NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center. >click to read<11:49

Lobster industry blasts proposed regulations intended to protect whales

Maine officials and members of the state’s lobster industry are blasting a new federal report on the endangered right whale, claiming it uses old science to unfairly target the fishery for restrictions.
The Maine Department of Marine Resources, the agency that regulates the $434 million lobster fishery, and the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, the trade group representing Maine’s 4,500 active commercial lobstermen, question the scientific merits of the report from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, which was issued in advance of next week’s meeting of a federal right whale protection advisory team. “They’re painting a big target on the back of the Maine lobster industry, but the picture isn’t based on the best available science,” DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher said Thursday. >click to read<09:34

Scientists say black Sea bass behavior could be affected by offshore wind

Scientists from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center say that offshore wind energy construction could affect the behavior of Black Sea Bass. Black Sea Bass live up and down the east coast from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico, providing a significant ecological and economic importance. The fish are also attracted to structurally complex habitats, often found around rocky reefs, mussel beds, cobble and rock fields, and artificial habitats like shipwrecks. Scientists, commercial and recreational fisherman have expressed their concerns about how the sounds that come with the development of offshore wind energy overlapping with the natural habitats of Black Sea Bass. >click to read<09:37

NOAA findings on right whale endangerment could affect lobster fishery

A new report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center finds that the decline of the North Atlantic right whale population over the past eight years is due to multiple factors that include entanglement with fishing gear. The whales’ range expansion has exposed them to vessel traffic and fisheries in Canadian waters, which did not have protections for right whales in place until late last summer, the report says. Lobster populations are also changing distribution in the Gulf of Maine, causing U.S. fisheries to move farther offshore in pursuit of lobsters, thus increasing overlap between fishing activity and right whale foraging areas and migration corridors. >click to read<14:30

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

Study: Ocean noise may hinder fish mating

The party is noisy. The music and conversation drown out what you want to say. Welcome to the world of the cod, haddock and other fishwhere its considerably harder because its done in the dark, 160 feet below the ocean surface, where vital communication – essrtially “Here I am, over here!”- can be lost at the constant roar of ships passing overhead, An increasingly noisy ocean may mean fish are having a hard time finding one another to spawn and navigate, according to a new study by NOAA scientists and published last month in the online journal Scientific Reports by Nature.  click here to read the story 10:28

New NOAA Director seems willing to work with fishing industry

Jon Hare has just completed his first twelve months on the job as a science and research director or NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole. And its a big job. But he’s still smiling. The NEFSC managers the living marine resources of the Northeast Continental Shelf Ecosystem from the Gulf of Maine to Cap Hatteras. But Hare’s energy and enthusiasm have been equal to the task, while his willingness to listen and engage with all comers have earned him respect within NOAA and in the larger community.  It’s been a challenge but one that I’ve enjoyed,” he said, sitting don for a wide-ranging discussion at the Fishing Partnership office in New Bedford last week. click here to read the story 21:46

Fishing Industry, NEFSC Team Up for Gulf of Maine Longline Study

The Cooperative Gulf of Maine (GOM) Bottom Longline Survey is now underway for the fourth consecutive year. Two Massachusetts commercial longline fishing vessels and staff from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center’s (NEFSC) Cooperative Research Branch will be working in the Gulf of Maine over the next three weeks. They began staging October 5 on the 50-foot F/V Mary Elizabeth from Scituate and 40-foot F/V Tenacious II, which departed from Sesuit Harbor in East Dennis October 10 for the first of several two-to-four day trips. click here to read the story 14:28

Live Cam May Show True Status of Atlantic Cod Fishery

Atlantic cod, New England’s most iconic fish, has been reported at historic lows for years, but fishermen hope a new video monitoring technique will prove there are more of the fish than federal surveyors believe. Ronnie Borjeson, who has been fishing for more than 40 years, says the federal surveys don’t match up with what fishermen are seeing. “I don’t care if you’re a gillnetter, a hook and line guy, a trawl guy,” he said, “there’s codfish everywhere up there. Everywhere. You can’t get away from them.” Borjeson helped test a video rig designed by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth that allows them to record fish underwater and count them on the video later. With this rig, scientists can sample a larger area in the same amount of time and hopefully improve federal estimates of how many cod are left. click here to read the story 16:26

Counting Fish – A film by Don Cuddy click here to watch 

Something fishy in the quotas?

The clatter reverberated in the refrigerated cold as workers offloaded fish and wheeled full bins into a storage area on Fisherman’s Wharf. The catch was sorted, weighed, labeled, and eventually loaded onto large trucks headed for New York. It was a big haul, but not a big payday for Tom Testaverde Jr., captain of the Midnight Sun. “Our season’s been good. We caught a lot of fish, but the prices have been killing us all year,” Testaverde said. He pointed to imports that drive prices down, and regulations that limit what kinds of fish he can catch. Those federal limits on some species — particularly groundfish such as cod and flounder — are at odds with what commercial fishermen say they are seeing in the ocean. click here to read the story 14:34

Cooperation between fishermen, regulators not just a fluke

Fisheries management is only as good as the science that it’s based upon. The better the science, the more effective the management. For the past three years, Point Judith fisherman Chris Roebuck has partnered with federal regulators to get a better handle on fish stocks, taking scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration out to sea on his 78-foot Western-rig stern trawler the Karen Elizabeth to help figure out where groundfish are and in what numbers. This summer’s trip wrapped up this week when the team of five researchers led by John Manderson, a senior ecosystem field scientist with NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, and a four-man crew headed by Roebuck returned to port in Galilee with new information on summer flounder, red hake and other species. click here to read the story 21:48

Bigelow won’t be around for the fall survey….who should do it? NEAMAP!

NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, which operates and maintains the vessel, estimates that the ship will be back in service in early November, about two months later than originally estimated. In late July, a propulsion motor failed and the ship returned to port for repair, which was more extensive than initially thought and will require specialized parts. Several Northeast Fisheries Science Center research cruises have been affected. A beaked whale survey will be conducted later this year on the R/V Hugh Sharp, operated by the University of Delaware. The center is working with OMAO on options for using other NOAA ships for some or all of the annual fall bottom-trawl survey and the ecosystem monitoring cruise, which usually occur between September and late November. click here to read the story 14:30

Rhode Island Fishermen Express Concerns About Upcoming Stock Assessments And Fishing Limits

Fishermen who attended a meeting Monday in Point Judith about upcoming groundfish stock assessments are unhappy with the data collection process for those assessments. The Northeast Fisheries Science Center, the research arm of NOAA Fisheries in the region, talked with commercial and recreational fishermen as a part of a series of port outreach meetings to hear fishermen’s concerns and to figure out how the science center could work to address them. Patrick Duckworth, a commercial fisherman who attended the meeting, said regulators are using bad scientific methods to collect data and set fishing limits. click here to read the story 08:43:52

2nd Round of 2017 Groundfish Assessment Port Meetings Scheduled

The Northeast Fisheries Science Center is coming to a port near you! Join us for the second set of port meetings between August 28 and September 7 to discuss the upcoming groundfish operational stock assessments. These meetings will include an informal explanation of the stock assessment process, the cooperative research program, and ways that your concerns can be addressed by the science center.  We’d like to talk to commercial and recreational fishermen. We’re listening to what you have to say. August 28-Narragansett RI, August 30-Montauk, September 6-Portsmouth, September 7- Plymouth. See the full schedule of confirmed meetings. Click here 16:27

Maine fishermen, scientists combine forces with goal to save shrimp fishery

For more than 20 years, Dana Hammond made close to half his annual income shrimping. But his shrimping profits began to dwindle in 2013. That season, regulators were alarmed by the lack of shrimp biomass in the Gulf of Maine, and the amount he was allowed to catch was cut 72 percent. The fishery was closed entirely in 2014. It hasn’t reopened since and Hammond, who fishes out of Portland on his boat the Nicole Leigh, has been trying to make up the deficit from his other main source of income, groundfishing. But Hammond isn’t ready to let shrimping go. click here to read the story 09:22

Groundfish: NEFSC to Hold Port Meetings With Fishermen to Talk About Upcoming Assessments

The Northeast Fisheries Science Center has scheduled a series of port outreach meetings to talk with commercial and recreational fishermen about the upcoming operational assessments for 20 groundfish stocks. Below is the list of confirmed meetings to date.  August 15 in Chatham, 4 p.m, Aug. 16 in New Bedford, 4 p.m., Aug. 17 in Portland, Me. 3 p.m.  Aug, 18 in Gloucester,10 a.m., Aug. 28 in Point Judith, 4 p.m. Aug. 30 in Montauk, Details to be announced. click here for locations, and more information The Groundfish Operational Assessments Peer Review is scheduled for September 11-15, 2017 at the science center in Woods Hole, MA.  Additional information is available at NEFSC.  Need to know more?  Contact Stock Assessment Outreach Coordinator Ariele Baker at (508) 495-4741, [email protected]

Trawl Surveys, what are they good for? – Nils E. Stolpe/FishNet USA

(Note that I am only addressing the NOAA/NMFS reliance on bottom trawl survey data in finfish stock assessments. I am not questioning the value of the wealth of biological and physical data that this long – running series of surveys generate.) From the article: According to NOAA/NMFS these surveys have provided and continue to provide “the primary scientific data” for fisheries assessments from North Carolina to Maine (fisheries assessments are the periodic – generally held every 3 to 5 years – scientific/bureaucratic exercises. In NOAA’s words “NOAA Fisheries’ scientific stock assessments are critical to modern fisheries management. Using data gathered from commercial and recreational fishermen and our own on-the-water scientific observations, a stock assessment describes the past and current status of a fish population or stock, answers questions about the size of the stock, and makes predictions about how a fishery will respond to current and future management measures.”) click here to read the article 12:35