Tag Archives: Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission

As fish move north, ‘things are getting weird out there’

Here in one of New England’s oldest fishing communities, there’s a longing for the old days, long before climate change and the federal government’s quota system got so complicated. Convinced that Congress and NOAA will never allow them larger quotas, many fishermen want to take their grievances straight to the White House, hoping the commander in chief will intervene and allow them to catch more fish. At his fish wholesaling business, Mike Gambardella reached for his iPhone to find one of his prized photographs: a picture showing him wearing a white T-shirt bearing the message, “President Trump: Make Commercial Fishing Great Again!” >click to read<08:28

Warming waters spark marine migration, fish wars

The warming waters associated with climate change are creating big ripple effects across fishing communities, including in this picturesque seaside town with a long fishing history. Take Joel Hovanesian, who last fall docked his 40-foot trawler at the Port of Galilee, calling it quits after a 42-year career of chasing fish.,,, Up and down the Atlantic coast, commercial fishermen are heading for the exits these days, irked by government rules and regulations that they say haven’t kept pace with the changes. Fishermen have long battled over fish allocations, but the fights have become more intense and complicated due to climate change. As more fish head north in search of cooler waters, fishermen complain that quotas have not kept pace with shifting stocks, making it harder for them to make a living and bring fish to market. >click to read<15:46

Rep. Zeldin Blasts NY’s ASMFC Delegates for Failure to Deliver for NY Fishermen

Today, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) blasted New York’s delegates to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) following the conclusion of this month’s spring meeting, during which no progress was made in rectifying New York’s already inequitable quotas for species across the board, including Black Sea Bass, Striped Bass and Fluke. >click to read<19:10

ASMFC says rockfish harvests need to be cut 17 percent

East Coast fishery managers last week took the first steps toward cutting the striped bass harvest 17 percent next year to help end overfishing of the popular species, which has been in decline for years. Options about how the harvest should be reduced will be presented to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission at its August meeting, after which proposals would go out for public comment. Final measures could be approved in October.,,, The issue of such “dead discards” — fish that die after being released by anglers — has gained more attention from fishery managers because the new assessment found,,, >click to read<08:45

Gerald Almy: Virginia’s trophy saltwater striped bass season canceled – >click to read<09:19

Daunting task begins: Reducing lobster gear to save whales

The interstate Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission met Monday outside Washington to discuss the implementation of the new rules, which are designed to reduce serious injuries and deaths among whales by 60 percent.,,, The interstate Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission met Monday outside Washington to discuss the implementation of the new rules,,,, Colleen Coogan, who coordinates the federal government team designed to protect the whales, said during the meeting that cooperating with Canadian authorities is also going to be very important. “We’ve set a pretty high bar,” Coogan said. “They’re going to have to show that their measures provide similar protections to right whales.” >click to read<08:58

Our view: Abundant menhaden draw whales and endless dispute over its fishery

A sustainable and growing menhaden fishery, though, isn’t enough for some. Since at least 1888, when the Rod and Reel Association claimed commercial menhaden boats were taking fish better left as food for species they liked to catch and eat, people have fought over the best use for menhaden. In the fall of 2017, a coalition of environmental and sport fishing interests, partly led by a unit of the Pew Charitable Trusts, successfully lobbied the fisheries commission to switch to a unique new management approach for a fishery, one based on estimates of how the menhaden population affects other fish and wildlife that prey upon it. >click to read<10:42

Maryland overfishing imperils rockfish population – Recreational anglers are largely responsible

“The recent stock assessment shows that early action is needed to slow the decline and restore this fishery to sustainable levels,” Virginia Marine Resources Commissioner Steven G. Bowman said in a statement.,,, Recreational anglers are largely responsible. Since 2008, they have killed eight times more striped bass than commercial fishermen, with Maryland anglers harvesting a huge haul: nearly three times the number of fish taken by Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware and North Carolina — combined. >click to read<14:49

UNACCEPTABLE – Strict right whale protection goal raises concerns among lobstermen

Patrick Keliher, head of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, announced the proposed target at a conference of U.S. and Canadian lobstermen in Portland Friday while defending a decision to cancel three meetings with Maine fishermen to talk about looming right whale protections.,,, The National Marine Fisheries Service estimates that fishing rope entanglement kills or seriously injures five to nine right whales a year,… A few minutes later, Keliher got an email from the fisheries service that spelled out its risk reduction target. Frustrated, he stood up and delivered apparent bad news – he told an already exasperated audience that the service now wanted a 60 percent to 80 percent reduction in the size of the lobster fishery. The room erupted with anger. >click to read<22:49

Maine cancels right whale meetings with lobster industry

The state Department of Marine Resources is canceling a series of meetings with the lobster industry next week to talk about right whale protections, saying it has nothing new to present to lobstermen until federal officials clearly identify a risk reduction target. The National Marine Fisheries Service, which is tasked with protecting right whales from entanglement in lobster fishing gear, is introducing new scientific methodologies and analyses that could cause large-scale changes to the lobster industry, Commissioner Patrick Keliher said. >click to read<11:11

At-Sea Monitoring 2019 Coverage Levels and Reimbursement for Groundfish Sector Fishery

NOAA Fisheries announces that for fishing year 2019 the total target at-sea monitoring coverage level is 31 percent of all groundfish sector trips. Additionally, for fishing year 2019, NOAA Fisheries will continue to reimburse 100 percent of industry’s at-sea monitoring costs. In 2018 and 2019, we received Congressional appropriations that have been and will continue to be used to reimburse sectors for 100 percent of their ASM costs. This reimbursement will continue at 100 percent for the 2019 fishing year. As in past years, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will administer the reimbursement. For more information, >click to read<15:44

MAINE DMR schedules whale updates, community meetings

Maine’s $485-million lobster industry is facing serious restrictions on the way it operates as a consequence of efforts to protect endangered right whales from extinction. In April, DMR will hold a series of community meetings to talk with lobster industry members about upcoming actions by the NOAA Fisheries Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission dealing with protection issues. Meetings are scheduled for >click to read<14:28

Impending whale protections worry fishermen

With the majority of American lobsters caught in Maine, the state’s lobster fishermen could bear the brunt of changes in federal fishery regulations to save the endangered right whale. At the March 1 Fisherman’s Forum update on the threat of extinction for the North Atlantic right whale, it became clear regulators believe changes to fishing gear will be announced sometime this year. Right whale presentation – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration official Mike Asaro explained that most of the remaining 450 North Atlantic right whales are male, with a population of about 100 females,,,. >click to read<16:17

Efforts Underway to Reduce Lobster Fishing Gear to Help Rare Whale

Interstate fishing managers are starting the process of trying to reduce the amount of lobster fishing gear off the East Coast in an attempt to help save a declining species of rare whale. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission announced this month that it would consider options designed to reduce vertical lobster fishing lines in the water by as much as 40 percent. The commission said it would try to reduce the amount of gear with a combination of trap limits, seasonal closures, changes to gear configuration and other methods. The rules are under development and it will take months before they come up for public hearings. >click to read<10:45

Virginia escapes sanction — for now — that could shut down menhaden fishing

A threat to shut down Virginia’s menhaden fishery disappeared after an interstate commission decided it wouldn’t find the state out of a compliance with a new quota for the oily fish. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission cut the quota for menhaden caught in Chesapeake Bay by purse-seine vessels by 42 percent back in 2017 — but the General Assembly balked this year and last at enacting that lower quota into state law. This month, the commission indefinitely postponed taking any action to find Virginia out of compliance, a finding that could trigger a federal moratorium on the fishery. >click to read<10:51

Lobstermen face more gear restrictions to protect whales

Nearly everywhere but up inside Maine’s many bays, fisheries regulators have forced lobstermen to use sinking rather than floating rope for the groundlines that connect traps on the sea bottom, to limit the number of traps set on a trawl to reduce the number of vertical buoy lines in the water and to install “weak links” in those vertical lines so an entangled whale can break loose. All those mandates, which arose out of discussions at NOAA’s Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team (ALWTRT), were hard-fought, expensive and largely unpopular. >click to read<11:22

New drive to reduce lobster fishing gear to help rare whale

Interstate fishing managers are starting the process of trying to reduce the amount of lobster fishing gear off the East Coast in an attempt to help save a declining species of rare whale. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission announced on Wednesday that it would consider options designed to reduce vertical lobster fishing lines in the water by as much as 40 percent. >click to read<13:48

Atlantic Lobster Board Moves Toward Reducing Rope In Effort To Save Right Whales

A consortium of Atlantic states fisheries managers is calling for broad changes to the gear lobstermen use, in an effort to reduce risks posed to the endangered North Atlantic right whale and to ward off potential federal action that could be even more challenging for the industry. At a meeting of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Council in Virginia, its lobster board voted unanimously to set in motion the process that could lead to major changes in the East Coast’s lobster industry. >click to read<12:43

‘Lobster-Whale Work Group’ Faces Complicated Balancing Act As It Works To Protect Right Whales

Under pressure from lawsuits and the requirements of the federal Endangered Species Act, the federal government is closely reviewing the health of the right whale population, which is hovering around 410 animals. The result could be the imposition of new gear and other restrictions to reduce the risk of whale entanglement with the rope lobstermen use to position and haul their traps,,, a new “Lobster-Whale Work Group,” made up of state officials in the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, has proposed a slate of possible actions with the dual goals of protecting the whales and the “viability and culture of the lobster fishery.” “We’re doing everything we can to appease the people who think it may be us,” says Stephen Train, a lobsterman in Long Island, Maine. >click to read<11:50

Whale rule changes coming on two tracks

Maine lobstermen and their representatives, along with state fisheries regulators, continue in the trenches of debates about how much the Maine lobster fishery is implicated in the decline of the North Atlantic right whale. Ongoing efforts to protect the whales from entanglement with fishing gear may result in two different new sets of regulations, Sarah Cotnoir, resource coordinator for the Maine Department of Marine Resources, and Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, told the Zone B Council last week. >click to read<11:03

Walter Kumiega reflects on eight years in the House

Deer Isle carpenter Walter Kumiega represented District 134—Deer Isle, Stonington, Isle au Haut and eight other communities—for eight years in the state legislature before becoming ineligible for re-election under state term limits for legislators.,, With commercial fishing communities “still the most important economic driver in my district,” Kumiega immediately joined the Joint Standing Committee on Marine Resources, chairing it for his final three terms. Throughout his tenure, he worked to initiate changes in lobster licensing regulations and sponsored legislation creating the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative, funding for which was recently renewed for a second three-year span. >click to read<15:07

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

Dogfish population declines off East Coast, as will the harvest

A small species of shark that is fished for food off the East Coast has declined slightly in population, and fishermen will be allowed to catch slightly less of it in the coming year. Spiny dogfish are harvested off several Atlantic states, and they are especially popular in Europe. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission says a recent assessment of the shark’s population shows a decline in the number of spiny dogfish. >click to read<10:13

Regulators moving to ban exotic bait that could threaten lobster fishery

The American Lobster Management Board took a first step toward adopting regional bait safety rules, voting Monday to develop a resolution to prohibit the use of exotic baits that could introduce disease, parasites or invasive species to East Coast waters.,, The board – which is part of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission – agreed to develop a bait safety resolution based on Maine’s rules that all lobstering states would enact by 2020 – a quick but voluntary fix. >click to read<09:36

Northern Shrimp: Regulators set hearing on shrimp rules

Meeting in Portland earlier this month, the ASMFC’s Northern Shrimp Section approved, subject to public comment, an “addendum” to the current version of the Northern Shrimp Fishery Management Plan. The addendum would allow each of the three states that have shrimp landings — primarily Maine but also New Hampshire and Massachusetts — to allocate their annual catch quotas between the types of gear used in the fishery. The ASMFC will take written comments on the rule until Wednesday, Nov. 7. >click to read<11:46

Habitat: River Herring, key to coastal health, slowly returning to rivers

A little fish on the East Coast that once provided vital protein for American colonists and bait for generations of New England lobstermen is slowly making a comeback after falling victim to lost habitat and environmental degradation. River herring once appeared headed to the endangered species list, but they’re now starting to turn up in rivers and streams at a rate that fishing regulators say is encouraging. The fish is a critical piece of the ecosystem in the eastern states, where it serves as food for birds and larger fish. >click to read<14:06

Northern Shrimp: Maine fishermen demand better science before canceling another shrimp season

Members of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will meet Thursday in Portland to review the most recent stock assessment and make recommendations on whether Maine will see a shrimp season next year for the first time since 2013.“Spawning stock biomass and total abundance remain low, with little sign of recovery,” Toni Kerns, an ASMFC fishery management plans coordinator, wrote in an email about the shrimp population in the Gulf of Maine.,, But Maine’s shrimp fishermen, facing a sixth consecutive barren season, are calling the survey process by the ASMFC a “sham” and say the entire process to measure the recovery of Maine shrimp should be overhauled. >click to read<08:37

Atlantic herring quotas may be cut again

Later this month, fisheries regulators will decide whether to adopt a new set of regulations, known as Amendment 8, that could include restricting fishing areas for the herring and could, for the first time, account for the fish’s place in the larger ecosystem. The New England Fishery Management Council’s Atlantic herring committee will meet next week to vote on a recommendation to the full council, which meets the following week. Consideration of the new management system, and the restrictions it would bring, follows the announcement in August that next year’s quota for Atlantic herring had been cut by 55 percent from its original level. >click to read<16:06

Have bluefish changed their habits?

What is causing them to change their behavior is puzzling fishermen and federal fishery managers who appear to have hit a wall trying to figure out the best way to utilize the fish.  By all indications the numbers of bluefish up and down the East Coast are not scarce, they’re just not where they’re expected to be. “There’s an abundance of them. They’re just 80 to 100 miles offshore where the longliners can’t keep them off the hook,” said Captain Lenny Elich, who runs the Miss Barnegat Light party boat. The two federal regional bodies that manage bluefish want to revise the allocation of bluefish between commercial and recreational fisheries by taking as much as 4 million pounds from the recreational harvest and giving it to commercial fishermen. >click to read<14:26

New England shrimp population still looks bad amid shutdown

A new analysis of New England’s shrimp population doesn’t bode well for the future of the long-shuttered fishery for the crustaceans. The Maine-based shrimp fishery has been shut down since 2013 because of concerns such as warming ocean temperatures and poor survival of young. Scientists working with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission are assessing the shrimp stock, and so far it looks like little has changed. Results of the stock assessment “look fairly similar to what we’ve seen in previous years,” said Megan Ware, a fishery management plan coordinator with the Atlantic States. >click to read<08:54

MAFMC/ASMFC Public Hearings on Summer Flounder Commercial Issues Amendment

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission are seeking public input on a draft amendment to address several potential changes to the management of the commercial summer flounder (fluke) fishery, as well as modifications to the fishery management plan (FMP) goals and objectives for summer flounder. Ten public hearings will be held between September 10 and September 27. Written comments will be accepted through October 12, 2018. >click to read<19:25