National Fisherman

Every spring when baby eels drift into the Chesapeake Bay from the Atlantic, then swim like mad up tributary rivers and creeks toward fresh water, Troy Tuckey is waiting for them.
 
The researcher with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester Point sets up Irish elver boxes at four critical points along major rivers to capture, count, measure, weigh and release the babies — called glass eels for their thin, translucent bodies, about the width of a pencil lead.
 
It's a survey he's conducted for the past 13 years on the James, York and Rappahannock rivers, on the lookout for early warning signs the species is in trouble.
 
In recent years, signs in Virginia and elsewhere indicate it is.
 
"The American eel was one of the most abundant fish species," Tuckey said, stretching back to when Native Americans taught early European settlers at Jamestown how to "stomp" eels out of the mud.
 
But last year a coastwide benchmark stock assessment called the American eel population in U.S. waters "depleted." It blamed an array of factors, including overfishing, predation, turbine deaths from hydroelectric dams, changes in the food web, pollution and disease. Fluctuating market prices can also cause commercial landings to flounder.
 
The Chesapeake Bay has typically yielded 63 percent of the annual U.S. commercial harvest of American eel, Tuckey said. But in 2007 commercial landings in Virginia and Maryland represented only 52 percent.
 
"There are lots of different data sources that show that abundances are down," said Tuckey.
 
Read the full story at Daily Press>>

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 1/27/15

In this episode:

Assessment: Atlantic menhaden is not overfished
Bering Sea pollock fishery casts off
Dock to Dish opens Florida’s first CSF
Second wave of disaster funds for Alaska
Fisherman lands N.C.’s largest bluefin ever

Inside the Industry

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute is still seeking public review and comment on the Alaska Responsible Fisheries Management Conformance Criteria (Version 1.2, September 2011). The public review and comment period, which opened on Dec. 3, 2014, runs through Monday, Feb. 3.

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NOAA, in consultation with the Department of the Interior, has appointed 10 new members to the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee. The 20-member committee is composed of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experience who advise the departments of commerce and the interior on ways to strengthen and connect the nation's MPA programs. The new members join the 10 continuing members appointed in 2012.

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