National Fisherman

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

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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