National Fisherman

BOSTON — There are five zones off the New England coast drawn in varying angles and shapes, all rich with fish, or at least they were at one time. It's why regulators looking to preserve valuable species closed these areas to certain kinds of fishing year-round, beginning in the 1990s.

Two decades later, a fishing industry in crisis wants to get back in.

Closing areas, fishing advocates say, is an outdated tool of a discarded fishery management system, and fishermen can now safely catch the healthy fish stocks that swim there. With regional fish populations limping along, they say, there's little evidence closing these areas has worked anyway.

"After this ... 19-year science experiment, have we got any positive proof that anything actually happens?" New Hampshire fisherman Dave Goethel asked at a meeting of regulators this fall.

But others argue regulators are moving too fast to open long-protected areas next year without understanding the consequences. They say closed areas generally work to protect fish and their habitats, and the current crisis in New England doesn't disprove that.

Read the full story at the Gloucester Daily Times>>

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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