National Fisherman


BOSTON - A mystery of sorts threatens to stunt Massachusetts' small but growing oyster industry after illnesses linked to bacterial contamination forced the state to shut down beds for the first time ever.
 
The culprit is the Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacterium, which has occurred in state waters since the 1960s. Theories abound about the recent increase in illnesses linked to Massachusetts -- but those are only theories.
 
"Honestly, I'm confused by the whole thing," said Don Merry, an oyster grower from Duxbury, where oyster beds have been closed.
 
Average monthly daytime water temperatures in the region rarely approach the 81 degrees believed to be the threshold that triggers dangerous Vibrio growth. Rising average water temperatures locally, while not reaching that threshold, could be causing environmental changes that cause strains of Vibrio to thrive, said Suzanne Condon, associate commissioner of the Department of Health.
 
In addition, virulent Vibrio strains that aren't as temperature-sensitive may have been carried from overseas in ships' ballast water in the past decade, said the state's chief shellfish biologist, Michael Hickey.
 
Read the full story at Portland Press herald>>

Inside the Industry

Pat Fiorelli, the long-serving public affairs officer for the New England Fishery Management Council, will step down at the end of July.

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The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced last week the sixth round of grant awards from its Fisheries Innovation Fund, a program launched in 2010 to foster innovations that support sustainable fisheries in the United States. 

The goal of the Fisheries Innovation Fund is to sustain fishermen and fishing communities while simultaneously rebuilding fish stocks.

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