National Fisherman

Acknowledging climate regime change, notably fast warming water in the once fish-rich Northwest Atlantic, the New England Fishery Management Council Wednesday approved a trio of changes in deciding how catch limits are calculated, outlined earlier by biologist and commercial fisherman David Goethel.

The council agreed with near unanimity to motions derived by Goethel from his March 4 letter to the council which cited six peer-reviewed scientific journal articles that together, he wrote, "demonstrate that the current management program will guarantee the destruction of the groundfish fleet with negligible benefits to the fish."

At its three day meeting in Mystic, Conn., the council, a policy advisory arm of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, also voted to:

"Map changes to spawning sites and the general distribution of all groundfish" and the impact on the long-term yield from the waters of the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank as well as the waters of Cape Cod and Southern New England;

"Consider the development of an ecosystem management plan for a priority in 2014; and,

"Calculate new "biological reference points" – the foundation of fishermen's catch limits — and put them to use as available to modify existing catch limits.

David Pierce, the council representative for Massachusetts and the state's deputy director of marine fisheries, described Goethel as a "Copernicus," a reference to the Renaissance astronomer who theorized that the earth circulated the sun, rather than serving as the center of the universe as the Church had always insisted.

Read the full story at the Gloucester Daily Times>>

Inside the Industry

NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.


A new study has identified a set of features common to all ocean ecosystems that provide a visual diagnosis of the health of the underwater environment coastal communities rely on.

Together, the features detail cumulative effects of threats -- such as overfishing, pollution, and invasive species,  allowing responders to act faster to increase ocean resiliency and sustainability.

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