National Fisherman

DOVER, Del. — Members of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council discussed options for protecting deep sea coral from being damaged by commercial fishing as the panel began a three-day meeting in Wilmington Tuesday.

The council last year initiated an amendment to a management plan for Atlantic mackerel, squid and butterfish to protect deep sea corals from impacts of bottom-tending fishing gear in the Mid-Atlantic.

It is aimed at protecting areas known or highly likely to contain deep-sea corals, which provide habitat for many commercially and recreationally important fish species. According to the council, deep sea coral species in the mid-Atlantic do not form large reefs but are fragile and slow-growing, making them vulnerable to physical disturbances.

The proposals include establishing both broad and discrete coral zone areas, and responses ranging from no action to prohibiting all bottom-tending gear.

On Tuesday, members of the council's ecosystems and ocean planning committee wrestled with how to balance the goal of coral protection with the interests of commercial fishermen. After lengthy debate, committee members voted to add an exemption for short-finned and long-finned squid fishing to the list of proposed alternatives for management measures for discrete coral zones.

Read the full story at The Washington Post>>

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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