National Fisherman

MASHPEE — The Massachusetts Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of a Mashpee oyster farmer whose proposed Popponesset Bay oyster farm has been continually challenged by neighboring homeowners.

The court ruled Tuesday that both the Mashpee Board of Selectmen and the town's Conservation Commission properly approved Richard Cook's application for a 1.9-acre shellfish grant. A group of neighbors whose homes overlook the bay challenged each board's ruling in separate court cases, which were decided in the same ruling by a three-judge Appeals Court panel.

The court stated the homeowners' claim that the Cape Cod Commission must review the project because it is a commercial development was incorrect. The commission's regulations include neither agriculture nor aquaculture in its definitions of a commercial project, the court stated.

The Appeals Court also found myriad other issues raised by the homeowners to be without merit, including claims that Cook had failed to adequately address the safety concerns of his gear potentially washing away in a storm and that the Conservation Commission reached its decision without enough deliberation or consideration.

Read the full story at Cape Cod Online>>

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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