National Fisherman

There’s a great big target on the backs of predator green crabs now, thanks to rule changes by the Maine Department of Marine Resources that went into effect this week.
As of Aug. 10, commercial fishermen no longer need a special license to harvest and sell green crabs and don’t have to report their green crab harvests to the state. Lobstermen will now be allowed to take them as bycatch. And when the Sheepscot, Damariscotta and Medomak rivers are closed for fishing other species of crabs between Dec. 1 and April 30, fishermen will still be able to harvest green crabs from those waters.
Public and private efforts are underway to rid Maine’s coastal waters of the invasive species, which preys on the state’s valuable shellfish population and wreaks havoc on eel grass. Although the crustaceans, which can be anywhere from 2.5 to 5 inches long, have been reported in Maine for more than a century, scientists speculate that warming ocean temperatures have allowed the crabs to multiply.
The crabs feast on bivalves such as softshell clams, which are Maine’s third most lucrative fishery. In 2013, 10.6 million pounds of softshell clams were valued at $16.9 million. But that was down from 11.1 million landed in 2012, according to the DMR, a decline partly attributable to damage from green crabs.
Read the full story at Portland Press Herald>>

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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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