Written by Jen Finn
The New England Fishery Management Council, after years of exhaustive deliberation and scientific analysis, is finalizing recommendations to modify closed areas off New England to better conform to updated science and current management goals. Several prominent environmental groups and advocates are defending the status quo.
One of the highest profile defenses of the current system appeared in the New York Times, ("Keep the Fishing Ban in New England" Jan. 30) by Dr. Callum Roberts, a tropical ecosystem expert at the University of York. Dr. Roberts claimed that maintaining the current areas is essential to continuing the recovery of species like scallops and haddock. But recent developments in marine science and fisheries management demonstrate that greater access to these areas is possible without negatively affecting conservation.
When the closed areas were designed, fisheries managers used "effort controls," specifying where, when and how fishermen could fish. As part of that system, areas of Georges Bank were closed to make the fleet less efficient, not because they were environmentally important. Today, managers determine catch directly with allocations.
Outside of their original purpose, the closings have provided insights into new management strategies and fishing techniques. We saw that scallops are able to mature and grow to larger sizes. We learned that this provided for a healthier resource with larger harvests and more spawning.
To capitalize on these benefits, scallopers partnered with NOAA and the NEFMC to create a system of "Rotational Area Management." This restricts where and when scallop vessels can fish, directing vessels to areas where fully grown scallops are located and keeping them away from areas with undersized scallops. In 2004, the fishery increased the "ring size" on fishing gear to 4 inches, so that only larger scallops are caught, while smaller scallops and fish bycatch are excluded. This current system is the result of extensive collaboration between the government, scallop fishermen and independent fisheries scientists. Cooperative research conducted by NMFS, the Fisheries Survival Fund, Coonamessett Farm, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science at the College of William and Mary, and the School for Marine Science and Technology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, remains a model of collaborative, conservation-minded fisheries management.
Read the full story at the New Bedford Standard-Times>>
National Fisherman Live: 3/10/15
In this episode, Online Editor Leslie Taylor talks with Mike McLouglin, vice president of Dunlop Industrial and Protective Footwear.
National Fisherman Live: 2/24/15
In this episode:
March date set for disaster aid dispersal
Oregon LNG project could disrupt fishing
NOAA tweaks gear marking requirement
N.C. launches first commercial/recreational dock
Spiny lobster traps limits not well received
NMFS announced two changes in regulations that apply to federal fishing permit holders starting Aug. 26.
First, they have eliminated the requirement for vessel owners to submit “did not fish” reports for the months or weeks when their vessel was not fishing.
Some of the restrictions for upgrading vessels listed on federal fishing permits have also been removed.Read more...
Alaskans will meet with British Columbia’s Minister of Energy and Mines, Bill Bennett, when he visits Juneau next week and will ask him to support an international review of mine developments in northwest British Columbia, upstream from Southeast Alaska along the Taku, Stikine and Unuk transboundary rivers.
Some Alaska fishing and environmental groups believe an international review is the best way to develop specific, binding commitments to ensure clean water, salmon, jobs and traditional and customary practices are not harmed by British Columbia mines and that adequate financial assurances are in place up front to cover long-term monitoring and compensation for damages.Read more...