National Fisherman


CHATHAM — The region's commercial lobster fishermen want no changes in federal rules governing vertical ropes in the water as they face proposals meant to protect rare whales.

About 60 people attended a public hearing Tuesday hosted by federal regulators at the community center, one of 16 hearings held in August and September along the East Coast.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service is attempting to tighten regulations that protect rare North Atlantic right whales, humpbacks and fin whales from getting killed or seriously hurt from commercial fishing gear.

The regulations have changed over the years to address whale entanglement in gillnet and trap/pot gear. But more protection is needed to prevent the whales from getting entangled in vertical lines that hang from a single buoy at the water's surface to a trap on the ocean floor, federal officials say.

Along the Massachusetts coast, the idea favored so far by federal regulators would close waters along the Outer Cape and east of Chatham to trap/pot fishing from Jan. 1 through April 30. The favored approach would require more than one trap/pot on a single vertical rope, called a trawl, depending on region and distance to shore, and fishermen would have to put more and bigger identifying tags on both trap/pot and gillnet gear.

Read the full story at Cape Cod Times>>

Inside the Industry

The American Fisheries Society is honoring recently retired Florida Institute of Oceanography director Bill Hogarth with the Carl R. Sullivan Fishery Conservation Award — one of the nation's premier awards in fisheries science - in recognition of his long career and leadership in preserving some of the world's most threatened species, advocating for environmental protections and leading Florida's scientific response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

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The Marine Stewardship Council has appointed Eric Critchlow as the new U.S. Program Director. Critchlow will be based in the MSC US headquarters in Seattle. He is a former vice president of Lusamerica Foods and has over 35 years in the seafood industry.

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