Written by Jen Finn
WASHINGTON (Saving Seafood) — In his National Geographic “Ocean Views” post, “Square One: New England Fishery Managers Trying to Un-do Decades of Protection” (2/3), Carl Safina, author and founder of the Blue Ocean Institute, argues that proposed changes to marine protected areas will “undo decades of progress.”
In December, the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) voted to approve Framework Adjustment 48 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. This would allow plans that alter existing closed areas to go into effect this May, a year earlier than anticipated. If enacted, commercial fishermen will be able to apply for access to areas that were closed for reasons other than habitat protection.
This is one of multiple efforts to aid struggling fishermen under consideration by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in response to sharp reductions in quota allocations. NOAA has been clear that this action will be carried out in a way that “minimizes risk to habitat, spawning fish, protected species and fish stocks in poor condition.”
But Framework 48 is not just an economic aid. It is part of a decade-long effort by fishery managers and scientists to update the closed areas in Georges Bank. The larger part of this effort, the Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat Amendment, which is planned to go into effect in 2014, incorporates new science and modified management actions to amend the closures in a way that will provide better habitat protection.
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NOAA recently published a proposed rule that would implement a traceability plan to help combat IUU fishing. The program would seek to trace the origins of imported seafood by setting up reporting and filing procedures for products entering the U.S.
The traceability program would collect data on harvest, landing, and chain of custody of fish and fish products that have been identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and fraud.Read more...
The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:
The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.Read more...