Written by Linc Bedrosian
Preliminary data from October indicates that delaying the consequence closure of the gillnet fishery did not have a negative impact on harbor porpoises.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration planned to impose a consequence closure on the gillnet fishery for October and November because fishermen failed to comply with a section of the Marine Mammal Protection Act that restricts bycatch of harbor porpoises. Gillnetters use stationary nets anchored by weights to catch groundfish such as cod and flounder, and bycatch occurs when harbor porpoises or other marine animals are inadvertently caught.
The decision to shift the closure from October to February came after the Northeast Seafood Coalition, a nonprofit representing more than 250 commercial fishing entities, submitted an industry proposal suggesting fishermen would be less affected economically and that more harbor porpoises would be protected if the consequence closure happened in February and March.
According to the NSC, gillnet fishermen are continuing to make concerted, proactive choices to minimize interactions with harbor porpoises, and the data show a low number of "takes" in October.
Read the full story at Seacoast Online
The Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance recently announced that the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation has awarded the organization a Hollings Grant to reduce whale entanglements in Alaska salmon fisheries by increasing the use of acoustic whale pingers to minimize entanglements in fishing gear.
Last week, Alaska senators Lisa Murkowski (R), Dan Sullivan (R) and Rep. Don Young (R) asked Secretary of State John Kerry to negotiate with Canadian leaders to make sure appropriate environmental safeguards are in place for mine development in Southeast Alaska.
The congressional delegation explained the importance of this issue to Alaskans and the need for assurances that the water quality in transboundary waters between Alaska and Canada will be maintained.Read more...