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
National Fisherman Live: 12/16/14
In this episode, Bruce Buls, WorkBoat's technical editor, interviews Long Island lobsterman John Aldridge, who survived for 12 hours after falling overboard in the dead of night. Aldridge was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Pacific Marine Expo, which took place Nov. 19-21 in Seattle.
NOAA, in consultation with the Department of the Interior, has appointed 10 new members to the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee. The 20-member committee is composed of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experience who advise the departments of commerce and the interior on ways to strengthen and connect the nation's MPA programs. The new members join the 10 continuing members appointed in 2012.