National Fisherman


PORTLAND - A shell disease that has plagued the southern New England lobster industry for years by making lobsters unsightly and in some cases unmarketable appears to be creeping northward to the lobster-rich grounds off the coast of Maine.

The number of lobsters suffering from shell disease remains tiny in Maine -- only three out of every 1,000 lobsters sampled last year had the disease. But scientists and lobstermen are concerned because the prevalence grew fivefold from 2010 to 2012.

The disease, which is not harmful to humans, first became noticeable in southern New England waters in the 1990s. About one in every three or four lobsters caught in waters off southern Massachusetts and Rhode Island in recent years has been diseased.

Carl Wilson, the state lobster biologist with the Department of Marine Resources, said people should be concerned -- but not alarmed -- by the numbers. People who look only at the percentage increase could get spooked and say, "Oh, my God, that's a huge increase," he said.

"But it's not, considering all the sampling we have and all the caveats of our sampling design," Wilson said. "But it's something we are watching."

Read the full story at Portland Press Herald>>

Inside the Industry

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...
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